Mark Kent and Matt Wiles Honored with Prestigious Engineering Award for Development of Chevrolet IndyCar V-6

  • May 22, 2012
  • Pratt Miller

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Louis Schwitzer Award Jointly Presented to Technical Partner Ilmor Engineering’s Steve Miller and Steve O’Connor

DETROIT – (May 22, 2012) – Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing, along with GM Development/Combustion Systems Engineer Matt Wiles, have been awarded the prestigious BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award in recognition of their development of the all-new Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 engine.

The pair was jointly recognized with Steve Miller, Managing Director of Ilmor Ltd., and Steve O’Connor, Ilmor Chief Designer. The coveted annual award was presented to the 2012 recipients, Kent, Wiles, Miller and O’Connor at a press conference held during the activities leading into the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. O’Connor was unable to attend to receive his award in person.

“I would like to thank the committee for selecting the all-new Chevy IndyCar V-6 engine as the recipient of this year’s Louis Schwitzer Award,” said Kent. “We are both honored and humbled by receiving this prestigious award. However, this engine and receiving this award would not have been possible without all of the contributions of everyone involved with this program including the GM Global Advanced & Race Engine Engineering Powertrain group, Ilmor Engineering, Hitachi and our Chevrolet IndyCar teams. It was because of their collective effort that this engine went from the drawing board to Winner’s Circle in a little bit over a year.”

“I am very honored to be a co-recipient of this award on behalf of Team Chevrolet, GM Powertrain and our development partners at Ilmor Ltd (Inc) as well as Hitachi Automotive Auto Systems, ,” Wiles said. “General Motors and Chevrolet have demonstrated a commitment to fuel efficiency while maintaining a spirited driving experience in our customer vehicles such as the Chevy Camaro and Malibu and other GM products. Using the same technologies we have demonstrated in the 2012 Chevy IndyCar engine – direct injection, turbo charging, downsizing and E85 Flex Fuel usage. Our engine is a direct example of the two-way technology transfer between racing and production powertrains.”

Presented by engineers to engineers, the BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award recognizes individuals for innovation and engineering excellence in the field of race car design, specifically related to the annual Indianapolis 500 race. BorgWarner sponsors the prestigious $10,000 award to be presented by the Indiana Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers (“SAE”) International. The winners are also honored at an awards banquet, and their names are immortalized on the Schwitzer trophy on permanent display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

“Thank you. It is fantastic to win this award,” said Miller. “To be recognized as an engineer in our sport is obviously the highest achievement that you can get. Thank everybody from the SAE and BorgWarner. To be here (at Indianapolis Motor Speedway); to win four races; to be on the pole four times and then have a decent shot in this race (Indianapolis 500), it has been fantastic. We have to thank Chevrolet for giving us the tools to work with.”

“We have a long and successful history here at the Speedway,” concluded Kent. “We’re happy to be back here as a competitor. Reading through Mr. Schwitzer’s history, it sounds like he and our founder, Louis Chevrolet, were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the same era. They both used this as the proving grounds to develop their future products, so it is very special for us to receive this award today”.

Chevrolet’s first IndyCar engine since 2005 was built through a collaborative effort, uniting Chevrolet and General Motor’s experience in E85 fuel and direct injection with Ilmor Engineering’s race engine design expertise. Chevrolet’s goal was to develop new technologies for a powerful fuel-efficient engine that could be transferred to production cars. To boost performance and throttle response, the engine uses twin turbochargers. The production-car based Hitachi fuel delivery system was enhanced with six high-pressure direct injectors in the heads and six lower-pressure injectors in the plenum.

Operating at up to 12,000 RPM, this is the highest revving direct injection engine in racing competition today. Computer models and empirical testing led to a technology breakthrough in the placement of the injectors that could be utilized in production cars. Special coatings in the engine and exhaust system reduce friction and improve fuel economy. Compression ratios and piston shapes were also designed for optimal thermodynamics. A pool of engines has been produced to support Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, KV Racing Technology, Ed Carpenter Racing, Panther Racing, Dragon Racing, and Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing this year.


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