American marque set to return to IndyCar in 2012
After a six-year absence, Chevrolet and General Motors will bring manufacturer competition back to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012.
The legendary American carmaker will challenge current IndyCar engine supplier Honda with a twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V6 engine. They’ll also align with Ilmor Engineering, which will end their current partnership with the Big H after next season. The Chevy-Ilmor partnership has had plenty of history in open-wheel racing, including six straight Indianapolis 500 victories from 1988-1993 credited to their engines.
In addition, Team Penske will help bring Chevy back to IndyCar — reviving a past alliance that reaped 31 victories and four Indy 500 triumphs.
Here’s the full press release from IndyCar:
INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Nov. 12, 2010) – Fans and industry representatives have asked for increased engine manufacturer participation in the IZOD IndyCar Series. They will get it in 2012.
General Motors and Chevrolet officials announced today that Chevrolet will compete in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series with a new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 racing engine powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel.
The American automaker will join current IZOD IndyCar Series engine manufacturer Honda, which announced earlier this year it would build a new V-6 power plant, designed by Honda Performance Development for the series in 2012.
“We are excited to have engine manufacturer competition again in the IZOD IndyCar Series, beginning in 2012,” said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR. “Chevrolet brings a strong passion for racing, technology, relevance and innovation, which is a great fit for our new car platform. We are excited about the future of Indy car racing with the addition of Chevrolet as well as the continued involvement of our longtime engine supplier Honda.”
The new, purpose-built Chevy IZOD IndyCar Series engine will be developed jointly by GM and Ilmor Engineering.
“Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a proving ground for manufacturers since Louis Chevrolet, our co-founder, first raced here in 1909,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “Our return to IndyCar as Chevrolet enters its centennial year is natural. At the same time this engine program will be a showcase for the efficient and powerful engine technologies that parallel new Chevrolet vehicles like the Camaro, all-new Cruze compact and Equinox crossover.”
Chevrolet competed previously in Indy car racing as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 104 races, powering six driver champions and scoring seven Indianapolis 500 victories. The new Chevrolet IZOD IndyCar Series engine program will reunite one of the most successful partnerships in motorsports as Team Penske will introduce the Chevrolet engine in 2012. Team Penske previously tallied 31 Indy car victories with Chevrolet engines, including four Indianapolis 500 wins.
“Our vision is to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles – and racing is one of the best ways to showcase what we can do,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, Global Product Operations. “Re-entering Indy-style racing will help us take our advanced engine technology to the upper bounds of what’s possible. And it will also provide a dynamic training ground for engineers, who’ll transfer the technologies we develop for racing to the products we sell to our customers.
“GM has become a recognized leader in implementing direct-injection technology in both four-cylinder and V-6 engines by leveraging knowledge already gained from racing,” Stephens said. “Building on this foundation, our new partnership with Ilmor will give us even more opportunities to accelerate our engine technology. It will help our effort to continue to expand and improve the DI technology for street cars. Indy racing will also let us compete at the cutting-edge of key technologies like safety, aerodynamics, electronics and materials so we can make our vehicles even more efficient, safer, more innovative and, especially, more fun to drive.”
The Chevrolet IZOD IndyCar Series power plant will have an aluminum block and cylinder heads, and will be a fully stressed chassis member supporting the gearbox and rear suspension. Technical details and specifications will be released at a later date.
“We want to take this opportunity to welcome Chevrolet back to the IZOD IndyCar Series,” said Erik Berkman, president, Honda Performance Development. “Although we are certainly proud of HPD’s numerous accomplishments during our tenure as single engine supplier to the Series – including an active and unprecedented streak of five consecutive Indianapolis 500s completed without an engine failure – we have repeatedly and unequivocally expressed our desire for engine competition within the Series, dating even from our first days of sole supply, in 2006.
“We look forward to renewing our relationship with Chevrolet as competitors on the race track and giving the fans of open-wheel racing a spirited and challenging rivalry.”
The IZOD IndyCar Series announced in June that that its next generation of engines would be more powerful and efficient than the current formula — along with being relevant to the public and automobile industry.
The 2012 platform allows manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders and 2.4-liter displacement. The engines will be turbo charged producing between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes. All engines will run on E85 with additional details on the fuel platform to be announced at a later date.
The new engine strategy was based on a recommendation from the ICONIC (Innovative, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Advisory Committee, which was tasked with reviewing, researching and making a recommendation to the sanctioning body on the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series engine and chassis.
Committee members include Brian Barnhart, Tony Cotman, Gil de Ferran, Eddie Gossage, Rick Long, Tony Purnell and Neil Ressler. It was mediated by retired Air Force Gen. William R. Looney III.