Diesel engine optimization for low emissions and high efficiency involves the use of very high injection pressures. It was generally thought that increased injection pressures lead to improved fuel air mixing due to increased atomization in the fuel jet. Injection experiments in a high-pressure, high-temperature flow reactor indicated, however, that high injection pressures, in excess of 150 MPa, leads to greatly increased penetration rates and significant wall impingement.An endoscope system was used to obtain movies of combustion in a modern, 4-valve, heavy-duty diesel engine. Movies were obtained at different speeds, loads, injection pressures, and intake air pressures. The movies indicated that high injection pressure, coupled with high intake air density leads to very short ignition delay times, ignition close to the nozzle, and burning of the plumes as they traverse the combustion chamber. Reduction of either the injection pressure or the intake air density leads to increased ignition delay times and corresponding changes in the location of ignition away from the nozzle, with early combustion occurring close to the combustion chamber wall and moving inward toward the nozzle.