IndyCar 2011 or 2012 engine update
Indy Racing League officials confirmed today that five engine manufacturers -- Honda Performance Development, Audi, Fiat Powertrain Technologies, Porsche and Volkswagen -- continue to participate in the IndyCar Series Automotive Manufacturers Roundtables.
The progressive and industry groundbreaking engine specification planning process was introduced in May 2008 to bring about expanded engine manufacturers participation in the IndyCar Series beginning as early as the 2011 season (but probably 2012).
Plans for introducing the new engine specifications, while maintaining the series’ position as a leader in the use of ethanol bio-fuel, remain an ongoing process with unprecedented OEM and race engine designer input. Through this collective process, the IndyCar Series will continue to work with the aforementioned five automotive manufacturers and with six world-renowned specialty race engine design companies -- that are providing ongoing discussion and counsel -- in refining engine specifications that are expected to be finalized within the next several months, including:
IndyCar Series’ new engine architecture will align with the direction being taken by the automotive manufacturers around the world as they strive for more efficient and environmentally-responsible smaller displacement engines. The direction of these specifications will allow team participation in the series in a cost-effective manner while allowing the engine manufacturers flexibility in possibly up-tuning and/or down-tuning the engine for use in other forms of motorsports.
“The IndyCar Series has a history of pioneering new automotive technical innovations that are proved and refined under the scrutiny of millions of IndyCar fans in exciting on-track action by the world’s best teams and drivers,” said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations for the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. “The input we have received through the collective manufacturer roundtable process is very important and will be seriously considered by the IndyCar Series in determining its future engine platform.”
During the past six months the IndyCar Series has conducted three high-level manufacturer roundtable meetings attended by senior executives from some of the world’s leading and most prestigious automotive brands.
The format of the meetings was groundbreaking in that it was specifically designed to solicit open discussion among the attendees as to what the manufacturers’ goals and desires were for motorsports involvement. The IndyCar Series’ objective was to determine a common theme from the participants bridging motorsports with the mainstream automotive industry, showing consumers efficiency and performance technologies.
The ongoing Manufacturers Roundtable process initially attracted nine automotive companies for a closed-door, day and a half meeting in June at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as six renowned race engine companies. The meetings also included Firestone, the exclusive tire supplier to the IndyCar Series, and Dallara, the provider of chassis, allowing each, who plays a critical role in the on-track product, input in the engine spec process.
The successful initial meeting led to follow-up, one-on-one meetings and then a second two-day Manufacturers Roundtable in September that was attended by Honda Performance Development, Audi, Fiat Powertrain Technologies, Porsche and Volkswagen. That meeting further refined a relevant technical foundation for the future of the IndyCar Series and led to a subsequent third meeting which was held in Germany just before Christmas.
“This process was designed to showcase the league’s position as an innovator and bring relevance to the forefront for the manufacturers,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the Indy Racing League. “What we have found in the ensuing months during the economic downturn is that the IndyCar Series has really hit on the relevance point with the manufacturers and quite possibly helped the motorsports industry usher in a new era of responsible cost containment, performance standard and engine development.”
In addition to the engine specifications the IndyCar Series has also been investigating innovative ways to partner its teams with the manufacturers and anticipates confirming those plans in the near future.
The following are quotes from the five automotive companies integral to the IndyCar Series’ ongoing progressive and unique Automotive Manufacturers Roundtable initiative:
FIAT POWERTRAIN TECHNOLOGIES
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