The off-season is a confusing time for the general racing fan. We often have the question of, “Why would somebody change a perfectly running car just to try stuff?” Today, we have a good example of a consistent team taking a new product and finding more consistency and possibly more horsepower on the table in just one test session.
Andrew Alepa’s race team based out of Texas made the trek to Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida with the performance moguls from Pro Line Racing and FuelTech USA to get a final test session in the books for the 2017 season in preparation for an early start in 2018. The HEMI-powered Chevrolet Corvette ended the season with strong performances at No Mercy 8 and Tulsa’s Throwdown at T-Town events, but knowing how tough the competition is working, Alepa wanted to stay ahead of the curve himself.
Homier Fabrications was called in to install the new FT-Spark ignition module and coil-on-plug system to replace the former magneto-style ignition. The FuelTech FT-Spark is an extremely high energy Capacitive Discharge Ignition (CDI) system designed to meet the highest spark requirements for racing. This product was specifically designed and developed with high horsepower combinations in mind, just like the twin-turbocharged Pro Line Racing-built HEMI between the frame rails of Alepa’s C7.
After several conversations with FuelTech CEO Anderson Dick you can feel the excitement in his words about the positive testing results from the Alepa Racing test session.
“We have been investing in developing modern technologies and innovation into the extreme high-performance market for over 15 years,” Dick said. “We are very happy about being able to contribute to make cars quicker, faster and more reliable – the FT-Spark is a big step in this industry and we firmly believe it will help a lot.”
Tuning extraordinaire Steve Petty was on site to handle the tuning duties for the popular Radial vs. The World Corvette and the new FT-Spark test session. After many mid-track shut-offs, the small bugs were worked out and the team began clicking off consistent laps, including 3.84, 3.81 and a stout 3.78 at 210 mph to end the session in the middle of the day on a balmy Bradenton, Florida, afternoon.
One of the key points of knowledge coming out of the FT-Spark ignition module is the data logging sampling and reading cylinder misfires and measures all the voltage outputs to each cylinder. “Car was tuned with a magneto ignition; after a few passes with the FT-Spark, the spark plugs are cleaner and safer and just as fast as before,” Petty said.
The team at FuelTech has been hard at work trying to perfect this product before it was released to the public. Working with teams like Ziff Hudson and Andrew Alepa, the research and development was a extremely positive process.
“We have been listening, learning and participating in the latest racing evolution that we felt there was much to be improved upon in the ignition systems for high performance engines,” said Luis de Leon, chief technical director at FuelTech. “FT-Spark not only has the strongest spark on the market, but all the live and real diagnostics supplied to the data logging creates a mandatory part on a championship winning race car.”
For more information on the FT-Spark ignition system and the entire product line at FuelTech, we invite you to visit them online at www.fueltech.net.