New facility should be a boon for the company’s racing and production divisions

General Motors is doubling down on its racing department with the opening of the new Powertrain Performance and Racing Center located at the company’s campus in Pontiac, Michigan. The 111,420-square-foot facility is connected to the company’s existing Global Powertrain Engineering Center, bringing together an expansive network of engine builders, engineers, and support staff, all of whom will be tasked to help develop engines for GM’s racing teams competing in NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA, NHRA.

The main objective of the new center falls on the development of its current crop of racing engines that will all be used in the racing series that the company is actively involved in.

Among the engines that will fall under the responsibility of the new center include the Nascar “R07”, which will be used for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In addition, the center will also develop the IndyCar 2.2L Twin-Turbo V-6 engine, NHRA COPO Camaro V-8 engines, Corvette Racing 5.5L V-8, and the Cadillac ATSV.R Twin Turbo engine.

The importance of the new center can’t be understated, especially for a company that’s involved in more than just one racing series. The massive size of the facility alone allows GM to use all that space to serve a variety of functions. Engine assembly will obviously be there, but the facility will also include areas for machining, calibration, and engine testing, including the availability of four AVL dyno cells : two gas-powered engine dynos, a gas-powered driveline dyno, and a new electric driveline dyno. An interactive lobby and meeting space is also included in the facility.

More than just the technological wizardry that’s expected to happen in this facility, its importance also hinges on how the two connected facilities can leverage their respective expertise to create an efficient and integrated working ecosystem that can benefit GM’s racing and production divisions.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

GM Opens New Powertrain Performance And Racing Center
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This is a big step for General Motors as it tries to streamline the development of its racing and production engines. If anything, you have to commend GM for doing this as part of a $200-million investment at its Pontiac, Mich., campus. For those who don’t know, the company’s racing center was initially located in Wixom, Michigan but now that the facility is effectively under one roof with the Global Powertrain Engineering Center, it’s going to make it a lot easier for engineers of both facilities to work in concert and build the best possible engines for GM. The resources are there. The technology is there. But, most of all, the know-how is effectively doubled having all these expert minds together in one place.

As far as its capabilities, the new facility has it all. From the design release of these engines to the calibration and everything else in between (engine build, electronics, telematics, and dyno validation), this facility will have them all.

On the flip side, all the attention GM has gotten with the opening of this facility does put the spotlight on the company’s racing efforts. A lot of people, myself included, will now look at the company and have incredibly high expectations for its racing programs. That comes with the territory of announcing the vast resources your putting into your racing people to come up with the best possible racing engines in the business.

There’s pressure on GM to be able to live up to that, and only time will tell if GM will be able to live up to having all the attention. I think GM can do it because it’s got some bright people working in what is now a mega facility over there in Pontiac, Michigan. Now it’s on them to bear fruit to the company’s motto of “racing to win”.

Press Release

General Motors today opened the doors to the all-new GM Powertrain Performance and Racing Center – a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance the development processes for the company’s diverse racing engine programs.

GM Opens New Powertrain Performance And Racing Center
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The new, 111,420-square-foot facility is connected to GM’s Global Powertrain Engineering Center and is part of a $200-million investment at the Pontiac, Mich., campus. It relocates the Racing center from Wixom, Mich. to the Pontiac Powertrain Campus, bringing together under one roof an additional team of nearly 100 engine builders, engineers and other support staff. The Performance and Racing team is responsible for developing engines for NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, IMSA and other racing series.

It also leverages the resources at the Global Powertrain Engineering Center, enabling faster and more integrated technology transfer between GM’s racing experience and production-vehicle powertrains.

“We race to win and learn,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, General Motors Global Powertrain. “This new facility offers unprecedented opportunities to connect our racing engineers and powertrain engineers, integrating their knowledge to give our racers an edge on the track and our customers better vehicles on the road.”

Tasked with complete racing engine design and validation, the Performance and Racing Center’s capabilities include:

Design release
Full CNC machining
Engine build
Electronics and telematics
Dyno validation

GM Opens New Powertrain Performance And Racing Center
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“Chevrolet earned six manufacturer and five driver championships in 2015, and we are carrying that momentum into 2016,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “This new center is a valuable tool in developing powertrains with the right combination of performance, durability and efficiency to help our drivers and teams win races and championships.”

The racing engines under responsibility at the new center include:

NASCAR “R07” – a unique 358-cubic-inch V-8 engine designed and developed exclusively for NASCAR Sprint Cup racing
IndyCar 2.2L Twin-Turbo V-6 – a technical marvel that uses a pair of high-boost-producing turbochargers to help extract about 700 horsepower from the small-displacement, direct-injected V-6
NHRA COPO Camaro V-8 engines – racers competing with a new 2016 COPO Camaro in NHRA’s Stock and Super Stock eliminator classes can select from supercharged and naturally aspirated LS- and LT-family engines
Corvette Racing 5.5L V-8 – Based on the production LT engine family, the naturally aspirated and all-aluminum 5.5L V-8 engine is used by the Corvette Racing C7.R team
Cadillac ATSV.R Twin Turbo – A racing engine based on the production model’s 3.6L twin-turbo engine.

Additionally, the high-performance crate engines and crate powertrain systems offered by Chevrolet Performance are developed at the new facility.

Clean-sheet design

A clean-sheet design of the new facility incorporates the latest engine-assembly, engine-testing and calibration equipment. The connected layouts of the engine assembly and testing areas are designed to enhance workflow, making it easier for the eight dedicated performance and racing engine builders to retrieve parts, build engines and move them to the dyno cells. Collectively, they bring 150 years of engine-building experience.

GM Opens New Powertrain Performance And Racing Center
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“The process development possibilities with the new center are exciting,” said Dan Nicholson. “We’ve merged the best engineers and engine builders in the business with one of the industry’s most advanced powertrain development facilities.”

Facility highlights include:

Engine assembly – There are 10 all-new engine build bays – eight in the Engine Build room and two in the prep area to facilitate quicker transfer to dyno testing and other validation areas. Each 120-square-foot bay has an air drop for powered tools and access to an overhead crane for easy loading on the build stands. Builders also use specialized tools such as programmable torque wrenches to help ensure consistency with the engines. Additional specialty tools at their disposal include a Cam Doctor for precise camshaft evaluations and a ROMER Arm coordinate measuring machine.

Machining – Engineers and builders also have access to over 30 machining tools, offering complete machining capability for cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, fuel rails and engine components, comparable to the racing industry’s best racing shops. The equipment roster includes nine CNC machines that can transform designs right into new components – including a new Hurco five-axis machine. The staff also has access to a 3D printer for constructing new or modified components, as well as laser scanners to help ensure the powertrain parts meet the high degree of dimensional accuracy demanded for the rigors of racing.

Engine testing – There are four state of the art AVL engine dynamometer cells dedicated to the Performance and Racing Center:

Two gas-powered engine dynos
A gas-powered driveline dyno
A new electric driveline dyno

The engine dynos are similar to those used to develop GM’s production engines, but rated for the high output of racing engines. The gas and electric driveline dynos are firsts for GM Powertrain’s campus and are used to test axle differentials for NASCAR and IndyCar. The drive input capability for each is more than 1,000 hp and approximately 560 lb-ft of torque, while the drive output capability is approximately 885 hp and 2,500 lb-ft of torque.

Calibration – An electronics lab is used for the design, assembly and calibration of custom control systems that drive most of the racing and performance engines. Engineers are also able to make calibration changes in the dyno cells. In fact, the dynos can use telemetry data from the race cars’ control systems to replay an engine’s entire race, which can help with development of new engines and calibration changes for existing ones.

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Interactive lobby and meeting space

In addition to its technical development areas, the new Performance and Racing Center also features an airy, modern and connected lobby that celebrates GM’s motorsports legacy, as well as a conference center that accommodates up to 125 people. It can be reserved by racing teams, component suppliers and even enthusiast clubs and organizations seeking a meeting location under the checkered flags of GM’s racing programs.

“Louis Chevrolet established GM’s racing legacy more than a century ago and every win since then has helped us design and build better vehicles,” said Campbell. “With the new Powertrain Performance and Racing Center, we will advance that legacy with greater competitiveness on the track and stronger technology transfer to production vehicles.”

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