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 Racing Engines. 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 Daimler-Benz 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.

When Ilmor entered the tow boat segment they noticed that the industry was grossly claiming more HP than the engines produced.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has more restrictive emmissions standards than the rest of the nation.  CARB requires all engines to undergo emissions and performance testing before they can be sold in California.  These tests are done to EPA standards so variables like temperature, altitude, fuels, ect. are accounted for to equalize data.  When Ilmor entered the segment they decided to use CARB test data for their marketing specifications because they did not want to be pulled into the industy's false claims.  The Ilmor 5.7 claimed lower HP (320) than several competitors from PCM and Indmar but actually produced 12 -38 HP more!  The other companies were overstating 42 - 61 HP when compared to CARB's scientific data!

The MasterCraft Ilmor Motor Line-up

5000MPI 5.7L 320-hp

Ilmor's MPI engine class sets a new standard for recreational marine performance. Powerful, reliable, and efficient, the MPI engine class is designed to keep your mind off troubleshooting and focused on enjoying your day on the water. A power-dense performer that's durable and cost-efficient, our 5000MPI model has more than 60 years of legendary small-block heritage.

5500GDI 5.3L 365-hp and 6000GDI 6.2L 430-hp

Incorporating the latest advances in automotive powertrain engineering and years of experience perfecting the direct fuel injection delivery system, Ilmor's all-new GDI class marine engines deliver a whole new level of efficiency without sacrificing power.

The only gasoline marine engine with a five star emissions rating, the GDI platform offers unparalleled fuel efficiency and a noticeably smoother, cleaner, quieter, safer, and more responsive ride.

7000MPI 7.4L 522-hp

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This hand-built beauty is the most powerful catalyzed production marine engine available today. It features sophisticated variable valve timing, forged Ilmor-developed billet internal components, and is manufactured to the same standards as Ilmor’s race-winning Indy Car engines.

The 87-octane compatible, naturally aspirated engine architecture provides more horsepower, better fuel economy, and longer parts durability than comparable supercharged engines. The 7000MPI conforms to EPA, CARB, and EU emissions standards, producing nearly 70% lower carbon monoxide emissions than other gasoline engines of comparable horsepower - a benefit for wake surfers and boarders.

Other Ilmor Marine Features

Advanced Temperature Control - Revolutionary Thermal Command Center (TCC) system simplifies and monitors water flow to prevent engine overheat conditions & reduce service issues.

Easy Access to Fuses - Solid state ePDM lets you conveniently view & reset blown fuses right from your dashboard.

Emission Reduction - All models meet U.S. EPA, CARB, and EU-RCD standards. Our GDI class is the only 5-star emissions rated gasoline marine engine in the world – without compromising on power.

Corrosion Protection - Our hard anodizing & sealing process offers the highest level of defense against harsh elements.

Longer Lifespan - 100% closed cooled engine technology provides both superior temperature control & protection of engine components for a longer life expectancy.

Easy to Service - Redesigned maintenance touch-points shorten the time required to complete regular service.

Quieter Performance - Uniquely designed exhaust system, including new “I-pipes”, reduce noise & vibration.

Smoother Ride - Responsive transmission provides a smooth shift experience, enhanced by high-quality lubricants that reduce gear noise.

Sophisticated Look - Minimized engine clutter for a clean, high-end, luxury appearance.

The Proof of a Great Partnership

Since MasterCraft partnered with Ilmor to make their motors, engine warranty claims have gone down 85% and Ilmor has achieved a 94% satisfaction rating from MasterCraft dealers.

Engineering excellence is Ilmor’s purpose and passion. And for 30 years they have satisfied the most demanding customers on the track – and now in the water.

They are continually driven to make products that offer better performance, are more durable, easier to service and lead the industry in quality and efficiency.

If you haven’t pushed the throttle down on an Ilmor-powered MasterCraft, we invite you on the water this spring, to experience a difference you can see, hear and feel.

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