To broaden its portfolio of industry-leading engine components and services, Mast Motorsports has completed a merger with Ft. Worth-based cylinder head and induction specialist ENDYN (Energy Dynamics). In the past, the two companies have worked closely together to co-develop ENDYN’s all-new Honda cylinder heads. By leveraging ENDYN’s 60-plus years of race engine development with Mast Motorsports’ engineering and manufacturing capabilities, this exciting endeavor promises to bring unparalleled performance and quality to Mast’s new Race Cylinder Head Services division.
As part of the merger, ENDYN will relocate its current Ft. Worth facility to Mast Motorsports’ all-new 22,000 square-foot cylinder head R&D campus in Nacogdoches, Texas. ENDYN Founder Larry Widmer will take the reins of Mast’s newly established Race Cylinder Head Services division while continuing to run ENDYN’s day-to-day operations.
“This partnership has a world of potential, and I’m very excited to work with everyone at Mast Motorsports,” Widmer stated.
With a long and decorated history that includes countless achievements in NHRA Pro Stock, NASCAR Cup, IndyCar, Australian V8 Supercars, AHRA Super Stock and CAN-AM, ENDYN has always prioritized on-track performance and durability. Although the company officially opened its doors in 1973, Widmer’s fascination with internal combustion engines dates back to the late-‘50s, when he managed to squeeze 43 horsepower and 21,000 rpm from his 100cc, two-stroke go kart by tweaking the port timing, cross-sectional areas, combustion chamber and piston design.
After graduating from karts to muscle cars, Widmer raced a 289-powered Ford Mustang followed by a Boss 429 A/FX Super Stock Mustang in 1969. He developed the first plenum ram intake manifold for the Boss 429 engine, catching the eye of Ford and landing an OE sponsorship for cylinder head and induction development on the 429 platform. Through this partnership, Widmer eventually developed the Boss 429 Super Swirl and 302 SVO cylinder heads for Ford Motorsports.
By the early ‘70s, Widmer began an extensive exploration of fluid dynamics, building the first flow bench capable of both static and pulsing flow evaluation of cylinder heads and intake manifolds. This led to ENDYN’s foray into fast-burn technology, and by 1975 the company began performing research and development work for Penske Racing’s NASCAR and IndyCar efforts, culminating in an Indy 500 win. Work with General Dynamics on the company’s Electrosonic X induction program in the late ‘70s demonstrated that with proper fuel atomization, it’s possible to operate engines with air/fuel mixtures as lean as 24:1. Widmer’s innovative high-swirl, lean-burn cylinder heads proved decades ahead of their time.
By the mid-‘80s, ENDYN cylinder heads dominated the highest ranks of professional racing, with wins at the 1985 Daytona 500 and NHRA Winternationals.
“We started working on bias-burn combustion for Penske. We found that if we swirl air into the chamber then use the piston to reaccelerate the swirl and place it near the exhaust valve and spark plug, you get a much more efficient burn and use less fuel,” Widmer discovered, leading to his high-compression “Soft Head” technology. “The goal was making as much power as possible while using as little fuel as possible. We took everything we learned on two-valve heads and applied them to four-valve heads. We had already worked on four- valve Cosworth DFV and DF heads for Penske, so it was a natural progression to work on similar programs where fuel efficiency was just as important as power production for international sports car competition.”
At the urging of a Toyota engineer, Widmer purchased a Honda Civic 30 years ago and went drag racing.
“When I raced my Mustang back in the ‘60s, Ford was a dirty word. I loved whipping up on Corvettes, and when you did the same thing in a front-wheel drive car with a small engine, it made the V-8 guys feel really bad and I enjoyed that,” he recalled. “We can get well over 400 cfm out of stock Honda head castings. Hot Rod magazine ran an article titled ‘12s and 20 mpg’ on our car in the mid-‘90s that really ruffled some feathers. The first N/A Honda to run 8s had our head on it, but at those power levels, there wasn’t a lot of structural integrity left in the OE heads. That said, no one has ever produced an aftermarket head for Hondas, so we worked with Mast Motorsports to design our own castings. We can now increase intake-side breathing to over 450 cfm with enough casting structure to endure repeated runs at 80 psi and higher boost levels. These heads are heavy-duty pieces.”
Today, ENDYN’s presence is firmly established in domestic and overseas markets, where its products are very popular with hardcore road racers. Although Widmer has built cylinder heads and induction components that serve the highest ranks of professional racing, working work with racers at the grassroots level strikes a chord with him personally.
“I just love engines. Racing is what I’ve done my whole life,” he stated. “I want to win. It’s all or nothing, and that desire has grown more intense as I’ve grown older.”