The recent development of diesel engine fuel injection systems has been dominated by how to manage the degrees of freedom that common rail multi-pulse systems now offer. A number of production engines already use four injection events while in research, work based on up to eight injection events has been reported.It is the degrees of freedom that lead to a novel experimental requirements. There is a potentially complex experimental program needed to simply understand how injection parameters influence the combustion process in steady state. Combustion behavior is not a continuum and as both injection and EGR rates are adjusted, distinct combustion modes emerge.Conventional calibration processes are severely challenged in the face of large number of degrees of freedom and as a consequence new development approaches are needed.Our paper will describe the background to a project formulated to investigate the application of Model Predictive Control (MPC) to a Caterpillar C6.6 diesel engine. We outline an innovative experimental facility developed for Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP) for both air and fuel path using Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology. This utilizes a Drivven FPGA injector driving system coupled with National Instruments™ (NI) hardware (PXI, CompactRIO) and LabVIEW 8.5 software. A detailed review is presented of the development stages from an initial single-cylinder open-loop fuel path control system through to a full-authority 6-cylinder injection system which replaces the Engine Control Unit (ECU).The original ECU fuel path control algorithms have been re-written in LabVIEW Real-Time (RT) to emulate the original ECU function. Drivven's CalVIEW is used for supervisory control and to manage engine maps over a local area network link with the NI RT environment. Two novel techniques are explored for integrating MathWorks™ Simulink-based controllers through NI's Simulation Interface Toolkit. Results demonstrate the control of exhaust temperature using MPC.