IndyCar Series is still trying figure out engine and chassis packages More significant questions involving the development of a new IndyCar engine and chassis for the 2012 season remain unresolved, and it appears battle lines are being drawn.
Honda recently indicated it is planning to build a turbocharged V-6 engine for Indy car racing. That goes against the wishes of a group known as Delta Wing LLC, which is developing an envelope-pushing new chassis designed to accept a four-cylinder power plant.
The Delta Wing project is led by Ganassi Racing designer Ben Bowlby, and several IndyCar Series team owners have endorsed building a prototype for testing and analysis.
Honda has repeatedly stated its objection to building a four-cylinder engine, but all signs point to Honda's being the only major auto manufacturer that is interested in participating in Indy cars in the future. IndyCar Series officials had been courting the Volkswagen Group and its VW, Porsche and Audi brands, but VW Group motorsport chief Kris Nissen has all but ruled out their participation.
"I am not 100 percent sure of the latest status, but I think it is not realistic for the moment that the VW group will do it," Nissen told Autosport.com. "Also IndyCar needs to settle down, and it looks like it is getting better. America needs to settle down, the car market needs to be stable again."
Caught in the middle is IndyCar Series competition president Brian Barnhart, who is believed to favor an evolution of the current Dallara chassis. Barnhart is under fire from teams and manufacturers for dragging out the decision with regard to the future direction of the series, and a fan group recently started an online petition to encourage his removal.
Barnhart and IndyCar Series officials must decide who they can most afford to lose: Honda and/or Dallara, or Ganassi and the majority of team owners who seem to favor a more radical shakeup of the rulebook and parts-supply system. ESPN.com