Since 1953, Automobile Racing Club of America has attempted to made racing affordable, but it’s still an investment and a half.

Today, August 1, 2014, ARCA President Ron Drager announced that next year, a “progressive and innovative” engine package will be available as an option to teams starting in 2015.

“I am pleased to announce today the conclusion to a long and extensive search to find the right strategic partner to help us address the challence of rising costs in our series. It is my pleasure to announce that Ilmor Engineering has partnered with us to develop the ARCA Ilmor 396, engine technology which provides a long term, stable platform delivering an economical and competitive option to our existing engine configurations.”

The engine will deliver 700 horsepower and 500 ft. lbs. of torque, and will be capable of running 1500 miles between re-builds. It has been two years in the making.

“The teams will be able to use the same ARCA Ilmor 396 at short tracks or superspeedway, a road course or the mile dirt tracks. We have begun to conduct extensive testing, and our plan calls for the first engines to be available for purchase by the teams by early December,” said Paul Ray, President of Ilmor Engineering.

“Holley carburetors have powered ARCA racers over two million miles in the last two decades alone, so it’s a natural transition for Holley fuel injection to deliver the fuel on the ARCA Ilmor 396,” Drager said.

Drager also noted that they will begin testing the setup in September so that they can have solid answers to some of the looming questions.

So, what does this mean for smaller ARCA teams? 35K is a lot of money to the small teams, and many may not be able to afford it. I understand and appreciate ARCA’s point of view, and time will tell where it takes the sport, along with the smaller teams.

Since it is an “option,” and can only be re-built three times, plus is cannot be rebuilt under 1200 miles. Since the ARCA season covers about 4000 miles, a 1500 mile engine life can get teams through the season with just over 3 engines/re-builds. It is also fully sealed, and cannot be tampered with to stop teams from trying to gain an advantage via modifications.

ARCA wants to reduce the cost and increase durability, but will this package do so? Also, what about the current cars? I asked ARCA President Ron Drager that question. He said he wants to ensure that the the teams that currently have equipment “feel good about it.” He said that “this is the best engine option that we can introduce for the long-term health of our series.”