Chevy makes it official, to join IndyCar in 2012
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 new purpose-built Chevy IndyCar engine will be developed jointly by General Motors and Ilmor Engineering.
Team Penske is the first IndyCar team to commit to Chevrolet power in 2012. The Chevrolet IndyCar engine will be available to all entrants in accordance with the series' regulations.
"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-style competition 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 IndyCar engine program will reunite one of the most successful partnerships in motorsports when Team Penske introduces the Chevrolet engine in 2012. Team Penske previously tallied 31 open-wheel 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 IndyCar 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 4-cylinder and V-6 engines," Stephens said. "Building on this foundation, our new partnership with Ilmor will give us even more opportunities to accelerate our advanced propulsion technology strategy. We’ll work to further increase performance, while using the least amount of fuel – and we’ll also learn how to get the most out of E85 ethanol."
The Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 will have a displacement of 2.4 liters. The powerplant 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 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 IndyCar racing with the addition of Chevrolet."
Bowtie Backgrounder: Chevrolet IndyCar History
Chevrolet’s roots in open-wheel racing run deep. Louis Chevrolet, co-founder and namesake of the Chevrolet Motor Co., competed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. A gifted engineer and talented race car driver, the Swiss-born Chevrolet organized the car company that bore his name with partner William Durant in 1911. Louis Chevrolet raced in the Indianapolis 500 four times, with a best finish of seventh in 1919. He prepared the cars driven to victory by his brother Gaston in 1920 and by Tommy Milton in 1921.
As an engine manufacturer, Chevrolet has competed in major open-wheel racing series in two eras. In 1986 through 1993, Chevy participated in CART and USAC-sanctioned events with turbocharged 2.65-liter Chevy Indy V-8 engines. Chevrolet returned to open-wheel competition in the IRL IndyCar Series in 2002 with a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter powerplant. Chevy Indy V-8 engines have won a total of 104 CART and IRL races, including seven Indianapolis 500 victories.
Chevy was well represented in Indy-style racing by independent teams that campaigned stock-block V-8 and V-6 engines in the ’70s and ’80s. On Oct. 15, 1984, Chevy officially became a force in open-wheel racing with the announcement of a new, purpose-built Chevrolet Indy racing engine.
The first Chevy Indy V-8 was a 2.65-liter turbocharged, methanol-burning V-8 with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The Chevy Indy V-8 made its competition debut in Phoenix on April 6, 1986. It subsequently became the dominant powerplant in Indy car competition, powering 11 drivers to a total of 86 victories in 1987-93. Chevrolet powered the winning driver in the Indianapolis 500 six straight years, and Chevrolet drivers won the PPG Indy Car World Series championship five consecutive seasons. Chevy enjoyed perfect seasons in 1990 and 1991, winning every race on the Indy car circuit. Eleven drivers won a total of 86 races with Chevy Indy V-8 engines from 1987-93, led by Emerson Fittipaldi with 18 victories.
Having achieved its engineering and marketing objectives, Chevy concluded its Indy car program at the end of the 1993 season. Paul Tracy put an exclamation point on the Chevrolet era with a victory in the season finale in Monterey, Calif., on Oct. 3, 1993.
Chevrolet returned to open-wheel racing in 2002 as Chevrolet power swept the manufacturers, drivers and team championships and Chevy drivers celebrated victories in 14 of 15 events on the Indy Racing League schedule. While this dominating performance duplicated the success of Chevy’s previous open-wheel racing program, there were significant differences between the Chevy Indy V-8 racing engines.
In 1997 the IRL introduced a naturally aspirated engine formula with 4.0-liter production-based powerplants, supplanting the turbocharged 2.65-liter engines used previously. In 2000 the maximum displacement was reduced to 3.5 liters to rein in escalating speeds and purpose-built racing engines were allowed, enabling more manufacturers to participate in the IRL series. The engine formula was significantly revised for the 2003 season to allow a smaller, lighter engine package. The maximum displacement was subsequently reduced to 3.0 liters, effective at the 2004 Indianapolis 500.
Chevy Indy V-8 Milestones
Chevrolet drivers have won six Indy-style championships, including five consecutive titles in the PPG Indy Car World Series in 1988-92. A decade later, Sam Hornish Jr. became the first Chevrolet champion in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series:
Chevrolet has powered the winning driver in the Indianapolis 500 seven times, including six consecutive victories in 1988-93:
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