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Explore Ilmor's Track Record

Cruise through our company's impressive history to learn about all the accomplishments and partnerships that have helped us achieve and maintain a legacy of engineering excellence.

THE START OF A LEGACY

1980s

Ilmor got its start in 1983 when two London engineers—Mario Illien and Paul Morgan—sent a letter to Roger Penske proposing a new company to design and build turbocharged engines for the IndyCar series. Within three months they gained Penske’s backing and Ilmor Engineering was born.

With Illien’s design skills and Morgan’s manufacturer expertise, alongside access to Penske’s Indy Car race team, the team got GM to fund the completion of their eight-cylinder turbocharged Chevrolet engine. In 1986, four-time Indy winner Al Unser became the first to race with the Ilmor engine and in 1987, Mario Andretti was the first to win a race for the company.

The Ilmor Chevrolet engine rapidly became the dominant engine in Indy racing, winning multiple championships and Indy 500s with stunning performance and reliability.

Ilmor Indy Engine

Off to the Races

1990s

In 1993, Ilmor partnered with Mercedes to introduce of a ‘pushrod’ engine, built specifically for the Indy 500. The MB-500I engine was perhaps the most powerful and innovative engine in the nearly 100-year history of the race and Al Unser Jr. drove it to victory in 1994.

Riding high on the Indy success, Ilmor partnered with Mercedes-Benz to design and develop a Formula One engine that went on to win the F1 World Championship with McLaren in 1998 and 1999. Additionally in 1998, Ilmor broaden their business with Ilmor Special Projects Group (SPG), and began working on a NASCAR program with Daimler Chrysler. This was followed by two motorcycle projects for Triumph and Harley Davidson and the development of a small ‘target-drone’ engine.

In 1998, the Ilmor Engineering headquarters moved into a custom 28,000 sq. ft. facility in Plymouth, MI that housed design, engineering, engine build, dyno, and development capabilities.

1990s Open Wheel Racing

Moving Into New Territory

2000-2010s

At the end of the 2000 season, Ilmor entered the Indy Racing League and began development of a GM-designed engine, which won the Indy 500 in both 2001 and 2002. 2002 also saw the beginning of new relationship with Honda Performance Development (HPD).

After the death of Paul Morgan in 2001, Ilmor’s UK division was sold to Mercedes-Benz, and Penske and Illien re-purchased the Special Projects Group, including the rights to the Ilmor name. In 2011, Ilmor completed an eight-year partnership with Honda that yielded 127 wins across six seasons. Ilmor again partnered with Chevrolet in 2012 to create a new 2.2L, twin turbo IndyCar engine which has won 64 IndyCar races, four IndyCar driver’s championships, and six IndyCar Manufacturers Series championships to date.  

In 2015, Ilmor began racing in the ARCA Racing Series at the ARCA Daytona 200.  The ARCA Ilmor 396 has won every pole and race thereafter. Ilmor entered the TransAm series, winning over 10 TA2 class races and capturing the 2016 Drivers Championship.


Ilmor Indy Car

Making Waves in the Marine Industry

2000-2010s

In 2002, Ilmor entered the high performance marine world, building race engines for the “SuperCat” Offshore Racing Series of the American Power Boat Association. Since its inception in 2004, Ilmor’s marine division has become a well-established supplier to the US and European high performance boat market. In 2009, Ilmor created a new generation of MV10 marine products and the new INDY® Sterndrive.

In 2010 Ilmor Engineering began production of MV8 engines for the MasterCraft Boat Company at its new 50,000 sq. ft. marine manufacturing headquarters in Mooresville, NC. By 2011, Ilmor Marine became the exclusive engine supplier to MasterCraft and launched MV8 7.4L engine.

Ilmor High Performance Marine gained attention in 2013 by introducing the MV8-570—the most powerful naturally-aspirated gasoline small-block engine today. Between 2014-2015, Ilmor also created a ‘custom’ engine for boat racing—powering multiple winners across several series. By 2015, Ilmor Marine had produced 10,000 MV8 marine engine. Recently we launched our innovative One Drive sterndrive propulsion system in 2016 and rolled out the MV8 7.4L engine in 2017.

2010s Mastercraft