The future emission standards, including real driving emissions (RDE) measurements for light-duty diesel engines, or the proposed low-NOx emission standard of 0.02 g/bhp.hr NOx of California Air Resources Board, are big challenges. It demands not only an intensive development for engine and after-treatment system, but also for the control system, in real driving emissions cycles under varied operating conditions and climate conditions, like low ambient temperature as well as high altitude. Therefore, further improvement of engine simulation models for a model-based optimization and also physical-based algorithms in order to realize more precise, robust and efficient control concepts are required. A fast-running novel physical-based ignition delay model for diesel engine combustion simulation and additionally, for combustion control in the next generation of ECUs is presented and validated in this study. Detailed chemical reactions of the ignition processes are solved by a n-heptane mechanism which is coupled to the thermodynamic simulation of in-cylinder processes during the compression and autoignition phases. All relevant engine operating conditions, like engine speed, in-cylinder charge mass and temperature, as well as, the EGR ratio are varied and ignition delay times are calculated. Using a large number of simulation results, a very-fast running ignition delay model is trained and validated against detailed reaction kinetics simulation results. The developed autoignition model can reproduce the results using engine and detailed reaction kinetics simulation with a very good accuracy. As next step, the developed autoignition model is implemented into a phenomenological combustion model. Experimental investigations are carried out on a single-cylinder heavy-duty diesel engine for validation of the developed engine process simulation model. Finally, the proposed novel ignition delay model is further developed for combustion control under engine transient conditions. The developed concept is first evaluated using a model in the loop methodology and afterwards on the engine test bench. The potentials for emission reduction under transient conditions are evaluated and discussed.