As more of the bigger racing teams and manufacturers get involved in Daytona Prototypes, do you think it will be harder for a smaller shop like Dinan to stay competitive on the engine side?
If Grand Am does a good job of holding to the rules, I don't think it will be harder. I got out of racing in 1996 and one reason I got out was that I got tired of political issues where a manufacturer would come along and give the sanctioning body a lot of money, and all of a sudden have a rules advantage. As long as Grand Am sticks to the rules, we have a shot at it, and I've never seen a racing series create a level atmosphere like Grand Am has. We're glad we got in on the ground floor, and we're making a series investment to stay competitive. I don't think we're getting beat by anybody in terms of straight-line speed, weight or reliability.
Tell me about your facility. . .
We have two facilities that support our BMW road car business, as well as the racing programs. We have a whole new engine machine shop that's in our Morgan Hill facility, and hired another engine builder that has experience building engines for Honda in Champ Car and IRL.
What is it about the V8 from the BMW M5 that makes it a good racing engine?
It's the only engine in the series that comes with a throttle plate per cylinder, like real racing engines in F1 do. It's also one of only two 5-liter, 4-valve motors (the Ford being the other), so it's one of the largest displacement 4-valve motors and has great torque. Also, even though it's a 5-liter engine it doesn't weigh any more than the Toyota engine, which is only 4.3-liters. One of the reasons I love BMW is that they invest money to try and make things better, and the BMW motor is technically superior to any motor in the series in terms of the original design. It's also been very reliable and is near the highest top speed on the radar gun at just about every race track (fastest speed recorded in a Dinan-powered DP so far is 184mph at Daytona). We recommend 40-50 hours per racing motor before a look-over, but last year G & W ran the engine for 70 hours and it was fine.