JANUARY 7, 2005

Ferrari to enter NASCAR!

The latest word from Italy is that the NASCAR teams are sitting up and taking notice of some of the engine technology which is available now in Modena, Italy, and that High Performance Engineering, a company run by Piero Ferrari (Enzo's son) is to be developing engines for one of the NASCAR teams in 2005. It is not clear which teams is involved but with engine development largely in the hands of the automobile manufacturers Dodge, Chevrolet and Ford it is likely that the work will be done for one of them. The most likely connection is with Chevrolet as there are links between General Motors and Fiat. HPE is independent of FIAT but works for both Ferrari and Maserati, doing high-performance engine development work. HPE is owned by Piero Ferrari but the Ducati company has a 40% share of the business. HPE, which is headquartered in the same building where Enzo Ferrari started the car company, has been responsible for some of the more interesting developments Ducati engine developments in recent years. In 2003 the company joined forces with a company called Iniziative Tecnologiche Applicate, run by Dario Calzavara (a man who was once head of the Pirelli F1 programme) to build a motorcycle called the Terra Modena SX2 which featured a 450cc HPE engine, which was designed for racing and to attract customers for roadgoing versions of the bike.

NASCAR is big business in the United States but few European companies have been able to make money from the series as the US championship has an impressive infrastructure of its own, clustered around Charlotte, North Carolina.