Ilmor Marine Engines


When you build the best tow boats in water sports, you need to install the highest performance, most reliable engines in the industry. MasterCraft has partnered with Ilmor Marine Engines exclusively since 2011. If you have not heard of Ilmor before you must not be a fan of auto racing.

Ilmor was originally formed as a partnership between engineers Mario Illen, Paul Morgan, and racing legend Roger Penske to design and build turbocharged engines for the Indy Car Racing Series in the United States.  Illen and Morgan were former employees at Cosworth. Several months after the design of the engine began, Roger Penske convinced General Motors to sponsor completion of the "Chevrolet" engine.

In 1986 four time Indy 500 winner Al Unser became the first to race with the Ilmor designed engine and in April of 1987 Mario Andretti earned Ilmor its first win at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

The Ilmor Chevrolet engine became the dominant power plant in Indy Car racing earning several Indy 500 wins and Series Championships with stunning performance and reliability.

In 1993 Chevrolet decided to withdraw from open wheel racing but Ilmor soon found a new partner: Mercedes Benz. The Mercedes-Ilmor partnership made a huge initial splash with a special "push rod" engine built specifically for the Indy 500. The Ilmor-Mercedes remains the most powerful engine to ever compete in the Indy 500 to this day. Al Unser Jr. drove it to victory lane in 1994. Following the race, the rules were changed to take away the advantage of the engine.

After such a successful paring in Indy Car. Mercedes Benz and Ilmor partnered to design and build a Formula One engine that went on to win the F1 world championship with McLaren in 1998 and 1999.

In 1998 Ilmor was involved with corporate partner DaimlerBenz on development of the Dodge NASCAR engine as well as projects with motorcycle manufacturers Harley-Davidson and Triumph.

After the 2000 season Mercedes withdrew from Indy Car Racing and Ilmor began design of the new General Motors Indy Racing League engine. The success of this program (winning the Indy 500 in 2001 and 2002) led to a partnership with Honda Performance Development on an engine that became the standard in Indy Racing for nearly a decade. The Ilmor Honda engine was so reliable that there were no engine failures at the Indy 500 from 2006 - 2010.

In May 2001 founder Paul Morgan was killed in a crash while piloting his vintage World War II P-51 Mustang. In 2005 a structured buyout of Ilmor's UK based F1 Racing Program was began by its long time partner Mercedes AMG. A deal was brokered to allow Penske and Illien to retain the Ilmor name and its US based operations.

Ilmor, Inc. entered the high-performance marine world in 2002 building race engines for the “SuperCat” Offshore Racing Series of the American Power Boat Association (APBA). Recognizing the business potential, Ilmor approached then co-owner DaimlerChrysler about the potential ‘marinization’ of the unique V-10 Dodge Viper engine. Ilmor has scored several World Championships both in the US and Europe with its high performance marine division.

In 2008 Ilmor began production of a special facility on the grounds of Penske Racing in Charlotte North Carolina to manufacture and assemble marine engines. Ilmor wanted to branch out into the more stable recreational marine business and began development of General Motors based engines for MasterCraft Boat Company. The first Ilmor engines were installed in a few 2010 boats and by 2012, Ilmor was MasterCraft's exclusive engine provider.

MasterCraft witnessed a drastic 80% reduction in warranty costs compared to their previous supplier after transitioning to Ilmor so for the 2014 model year, the standard warranty was expanded to a full 5 years.