• Jan 23rd 2009 at 4:26PM
  • 39

Ford is set to debut its first-ever clean-sheet NASCAR racing engine later this year. Known internally as the FR9, the new V8 shares no parts with its predecessor and is the first modern Ford engine designed specifically for NASCAR. Unlike the last-generation race engine, which, though thoroughly modified, was based on a production Ford 351 engine block, the new FR9 makes full use of the allowable 4.500-inch bore spacing that NASCAR has dictated in its rules. Further, the FR9's cooling and lubrication systems have been completely redesigned, allowing teams to configure their car's grille areas for better aerodynamics.

Ford claims that the engine has been on the drawing board for the last three years, and the new engine has logged thousands of miles on the dyno. The first successful testing on the track also took place last November. Expect to see various NASCAR teams using the new FR9 around the middle of this season.

[Source: Ford]


Ford Racing and Roush Yates Engines will debut the new "FR9" engine during the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

DEARBORN, Mich., January 22, 2009 – Ford and Roush Yates Engines already enjoy a reputation for producing some of the best power and reliability in the sport, but its latest NASCAR-approved engine has raised expectations to an even higher level for 2009.

Code-named "FR9," this new piece is the first purpose-built NASCAR racing engine to ever come out of Ford Motor Company. Its design has been spearheaded and developed by Ford Racing engineer David Simon, and famed engine builder Doug Yates, along with input from legendary Ford Racing engine engineer Mose Nowland.

"This is an exciting time for us to say the least, especially with the way our two companies have worked so well together on this project," said Yates. "I've never had the opportunity to work on a NASCAR engine with a clean sheet of paper, but that's basically what we've done and I've enjoyed every second. We feel we've got a piece that will not only be better than what we've got now, but will give us room to grow.

"With the exception of a few cylinder head changes through the years, we've had the same engine since 1991 and have been able to squeeze out every ounce of power and speed possible," continued Yates. "What's got me so excited is we've won races and championships with an engine many consider old, and this new piece is definitely a notch above, so we've got a lot to look forward to for years to come."

There are three key differences between "FR9" and the current engine. First, the cooling system has been re-worked and will allow teams to optimize the amount of tape they can put on the front grille and improve downforce. Second, the valve train has been improved, and, third, the production and assembly of "FR9" will be much easier than today's model.

Another thing is for certain, this isn't your father's 351 because "FR9" does not retain any of the original production 351 dimensions as the current model.

"Our main priority when we started this project was to get the bones of the engine right. We wanted to make sure we had the proper layout, the right block structure and that the overall skeleton of the engine was correct," said Simon. "Even though we've been working on these engines for decades and know a lot of things about them, there was still a lot we didn't know. In that case, we went and did some testing to get the answer."

That data driven philosophy for designing the engine was crucial for building an engine that would not only be reliable and efficient, but powerful as well.

"It was a completely different mindset and approach to making power," recalled Simon. "We did not finalize any part of the engine until we acquired the data that told us what was going to be our optimum setting or optimum dimension. The key to all of this in the first phase of our development was to produce as much power through the design of the engine as possible and to make sure we had the very best layout, the very best dimension, and the very best combination of dimensions that we could within the framework of the rules."

Since taking over as Ford Director of North America Motorsports in August, Brian Wolfe has had to learn a lot in a short amount of time, but he's been impressed with how well "FR9" has developed.

"Before taking over this job, I worked in powertrain development at Ford for 26 years, and it's always great to see a new product," said Wolfe. "To see the way everyone has worked together on this project is extremely gratifying and I know when "FR9" is ready for the race track, we're going to be spending a lot of time in Victory Lane."

Just when "FR9" is ready for competition remains to be seen, but a tentative target date is the second-half of the 2009 season.

"We're not going to rush this engine into competition until we're 100 percent sure it's going to meet our strict standards," said Yates. "We don't feel a need to rush because our current engine is still strong and that gives us the luxury to take our time and make sure we do "FR9" right. I know we've got a winner here, and I can't wait to see it on the track."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Shouldn't "stock" cars use "stock" motors from production car, not specifically developed motors for NASCAR? Ahhh...that is right...this is NASCAR that mandates everyone used the exact same body and chassis so that there is cost savings for multi-million dollar budgeted teams and better racing for the fans. So now I will have to listen to Cousin Carl tell me how FR9 technology is helping improve the Fusion Hybrid. The best line in the Release is "the cooling system has been re-worked and will allow teams to optimize the amount of tape they can put on the front grille"...the science of tape, air flow, grills and down-force that is the reason to develop a new engine, perhaps NASCAR should just ban tape. Think of all the new hats Jack Roush could get with a reduced tape budget.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That was directed at Matt, BTW.

      And as for your silly Raptor.... That truck will wipe the TRAIL with anything any other manufacturer has out there right now. That truck will sell. I can see how you might think it's silly now...but that truck's been in development longer than this recession has been going on. What a TRUE waste of money to scrap it now. This recession will not last. Like all things, it will pass, and people will want to spend money again. And some will spend their money on this truck...some won't.

      Would you criticize Chevy and Dodge for bringing back their Mustang fighters? Seriously, how practical are those cars? Not very. But you might argue: How practical is that Raptor? Well...for about the same price as a decked out Camaro or Challenger, I can get that Raptor. That Raptor will tow my boat, atvs, camper. Haul my tools around. Haul the wood for me to remodel my house. Haul my furniture when I move. Haul my family around (comfortably). Get me around in the snow. And who knows...maybe get me out of a natural disaster. The Camaro/Challenger? They can haul groceries and two kids in the back seat. That's about it. But they'll go really really fast!

      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe Ford should put it's money into better consumer engines instead of one for a rolling billboard.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm with your krasmo.
        Maybe it's about time nascar becomes useful for something.

        Be nice if ford released this thing as a crate engine.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Granted they've been known for some horrible transmissions in their vehicles...
        Most of the advances and improvements Ford Racing has come up with trickle down to their passenger cars (as noted above: valve-train, assembly processes and cooling methods)

        I will agree, I'm not a #3 tatooed NASCAR supporter by any means. Yes I've been to a race and paid waay too much for a couple light beers in plastic bottles and a commemorative decal and/or t-shirt; but to say that they can spend their money better elsewhere when the cars they are producing right now and have committed to produce really aren't that bad, this is like cancelling pre-tax deposits to your retirement find. This motor has been on the bench for the better part of 3 years, so why scrap it now when there's something to be learned that can improve the efficiency of all Internal Combustion Engines. Racing R&D funding can be cut back right now, but to delete it altogether just makes your future that much more questionable...
        • 6 Years Ago
        or maybe NASCAR should start using modern engines. That way manufacturers could at least use the excuse of R&D to keep pouring money into NASCAR. Not to mention what fuel injection would do to the environmental impact of the cars and positive PR for rednecks driving in circles.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why not just attach all the identical boxes to a big rotating arm like a fairground ride? For added points, make them all look like horses and make them go up and down. Then (and here's the key to it), instead of paying drivers to sit in them and stir the controls a little occasionally, get the audience to pay to take a ride, say for 15 laps or so. Sell ice cream and candy floss.

      Even more radical idea: make the buggers go round the other way for a change!
      • 6 Years Ago
      They should at least update to EFI.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I forgot to add that even Dodge and Toyota have been doing this for years. Chevy had a decent place to start but their racing engines are unique as well so in all reality Ford is just the last one to the party in this case...
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's funny, because the latest Chevy race engine re-design looks so much like the outgoing Ford: Non-siamese/equal length ports, distributor in the front of the block, cam placement... Those are design features that the Fords have had since the '60s. And GM publicly stated the last reiteration of the GM RO7 engine was to make it more competitive with the more modern Ford engines.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish stock block/head would be required...

      What the hell is stock about these cars now??
        • 6 Years Ago
        Blame the France family and their iron grip on NASCAR. Their reluctance to innovate and even "play nicely" makes NASCAR an easy target like Tom Cruise is with Scientology.

        Cars that don't even share the same body as production cars, "Caution laps" where it bunches up cars, not "green" enough....NASCAR sure is hitting the wrong buttons.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I dont really understand why everyone is so protective over this!!

        Whats wrong with having them be production based motors?? Wouldnt that be cooler?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Trans-Am cars of the Tommy Kendall era were not stock either but nobody here complains about those. Same for "Pro-Stock" drag cars. Those Pontiac G6 cars on the Grand Am circuit are rear drive aren't they?

        I'm not trying to be a jerk but why do so many people get hung up on the word "stock" in the acronym NASCAR? I haven't heared them refered to by anyone covering or in the sport of NASCAR call them stock cars except for Juan Pablo, Scott Speed and Patrick Carpantier. (SP) Basically just the open wheel guys call NASCAR cars "stock cars".
        • 6 Years Ago
        You say you don't understand why people are so protective but fail to see the irony in your comment. Why does it bother you so much?

        Most racing engines are not stock in any series. If they are stock derived they have been reworked and re-engineered so much you could never tell. Which really begs the question "what is stock?" Is stock a V-6 pulled straight from a Camry or Fusion and put in a car? Is it a stock V-6 block bored out with $50,000 in custom made parts bolted on?

        Maybe it would be cooler, I don't know. Thats your opinion and by all means you are entitled to it. But when it comes to the whole "stock" debate in NASCAR it's nothing more than a term for people who dislike NASCAR to cling to. You never see someone write "I hate NASCAR because its successful" or "I hate it because it gives millions away to charity!!!" It's always, "its not stock" or "they're rednecks" while ignoring the fact more drivers come from Cali than any other state.

        Yes it is really boring at times but boring sells. If you don't beleive me just ask Toyota.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One huge problem that the Big 3 face is a perception problem. To most car buyers Nascar represents yesteryear, that it's old technology and racing for hillbilly's. As long as Detroit is as involved with Nascar as it is and isn't seen as being proactive in new technology they will never rid themselves of their perception problems. I don't think that they should leave Nascar but they hold a lot of weight in what direction the sport should go in and should demand changes that would provide more use for them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish I could have this 351 in my truck. That thing looks potent. I can't wait to see practice runs with it, let alone actual racing. I wanna see Cousin Carl get this thing NOW!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      NASCAR ..... who cares.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Then why did you waste my time with your post? Go somewhere else.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great job Ford. You have EVERYTHING mortgaged including your own blue oval logo...and you are spending money on developing a Nascar engine. That has to be about as stupid as spending money at JC Whitney for parts for the silly Raptor.

      I am sure this will come up when you are begging for my money in the near future.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Quit trolling, P. It's just sad...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Perhaps you prefer Toyota's approach. Or perhaps Honda's. Maybe BMW's? Ferrari? Wait. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM IS INVOLVED IN RACING. In one form or another. What a STUPID argument. There are very few automobile manufacturers that aren't in racing. Ever heard the term "Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday"? Perhaps it doesn't hold the literal meaning it used to...but NASCAR fans are the MOST product-loyal fans out there. Success in NASCAR (and even racing in general) generally leads to success on the sales floor. Why do you think Toyota got involved? Because it is a waste of money?

      Ford is in a MUCH better position than the other 1.5 manufacturers in Detroit to be doing this. GM is already begging for more cash (which they got) so they wouldn't run out in March. Where is your criticism of them? Or Dodge? It's YOUR tax dollars paying for THEM to stay afloat (and race). Ford is using their own money (for how long, who knows?). As long as it's THEIR money, they can do what they want with it.
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