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IRL announces new 'equivalency based' engine formula, leaves many unanswered questions UPDATE “I think our guys are impressed with Randy’s leadership and where he wants to take things and Ford still sees value in the Indianapolis 500,” said Ford spokesman Kevin Kennedy.  “What was announced today was pretty broad and it’s too early to say, ‘yea or nay’ but our position is that it’s worth listening to more of what they have to say.”

IndyCar CEO Bernard said there will be a press conference Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway where more specifics might be discussed. We predict it will be done the way Grand-Am does it whereby you put the engines on a dyno and you make the power and torque curves as identical as possible using air or fuel restrictors, and then you spot check the engines throughout the year to make certain no one has made changes and are gaining an advantage, within, say, 2%.  What we do not yet know is whether the engine will be a stressed member of the car or not.  The Delta Wing concept is based on the engine being unstressed.

“It’s exciting news but it’s so wide open and there are still some major questions to be answered,” said Ian Bisco, former racing manager at Cosworth. “Will there be a RPM restriction? Will it be an air flow restriction or a fuel restriction? Will the engines be stressed or a non-stressed member? I’m sure these things will be decided after they do some testing but they’re all very crucial.”

“We’ve been in an open and engaged dialogue with the league now for two years,” Erik Berkman, President of Honda Performance Development told SPEEDTV.com. “And the whole idea of trying to come up with something that wouldn’t exclude anybody – but you have to exclude something. Are we going to allow rotary? Are we going to be able to bring a Honda jet turbine-powered car back to the Brickyard? The idea was, I think, to embrace a range of solutions and I think the league is still going through that process, as you know, with the chassis manufacturers still holding court.

“As far as the League’s direct communication with other manufacturers, that being encouraged, we'd like to see some competition come back on the engine front in the series. So we don't want to paint it too narrow. Of course, you heard our advocacy for a six-cylinder engine. Others have indicated that they have less interest in that format and would rather go with a four cylinders. So whether we’re restricting air or restricting fuel or restricting some way more, we, hopefully, can say, look, however you want to make that power, build it and bring it for 2012.”

“If there's a three cylinder idea out there or if there's – if somebody says, ‘Well, I don't really want to use 2.4L – can I use something different, less?’ Again, you think they might be leaving something on the table but one thing that the IndyCar Series does have to specify, however, is the fuel or they have to decide the fuel is open or whatever they're going to do.”

06/02/10 Fans and industry representatives have asked for increased manufacturer participation in the sport, and the IZOD IndyCar Series is providing such a platform with its new engine strategy.

The series announced today that its new generation of engines will be more powerful and efficient than the current formula.  The new engine strategy is based on a recommendation from the ICONIC (Innovative, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Advisory Committee.

The exciting new platform, which debuts in 2012, will allow manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders as well as maximum displacement of 2.4 cubic liters. The ethanol-fueled engines will produce between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes and will be turbocharged to allow for flexibility in power. 

[Editor's Note:  Talk about an ambiguous statement - there are so many holes in this announcement it leaves the reader feeling like Swiss Cheese.  Reading between the lines the IRL will follow in the footsteps of Grand-Am whereby different engines will be put on a dyno and restricted through as yet-to-be-determined means so the power and torque curves are nearly identical for all engines.] zzzz

"The ICONIC Advisory Committee has researched future engine platforms with manufacturers, teams, drivers and fans, and they felt this strategy best highlights key attributes of the sport - speed, competition and diversity," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League. "We feel this open and all-inclusive platform will make our sport an attractive option to engine manufacturers, while allowing development of a relevant and innovative platform to the current and future automotive industry by highlighting efficiency, performance, durability, quality, environmental responsibility and safety."

The IZOD IndyCar Series will explore new and relevant technologies to incorporate into the engine such as energy recovery, hybrids, fuel conservation and other developing green initiatives.

"Everyone wants to see competition and high performance on the track," said Bernard. "We are the fastest and most versatile racing in the world and this new engine strategy will continue to enhance that.  Now that we have a platform in place, it is our job to put this package in front of the automotive industry to attract the type of participation that will elevate the sport.  We truly want to challenge manufacturers to once again make our sport a proving ground and a platform to showcase technology that will benefit the future of their industry."

The new engine strategy will require that the IZOD IndyCar Series to adopt rules that can accommodate various engine architectures.

"We will continue to evaluate rules that will keep a level playing field across the board with the various engines that could enter our sport," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations. "For example, we could see a V-6 competing against an Inline 4 at all IZOD IndyCar Series events in the future. We will require reference engines as a benchmark in performance while looking at sonic air restrictors, fuel flow restrictions and more as key criteria for competition."

The IZOD IndyCar Series formed the ICONIC Advisory Committee is tasked with reviewing, researching and making a recommendation to the league on the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series engine and chassis.  The league plans to have a decision on its chassis by June 30.

"Speaking on behalf of the ICONIC Advisory Committee members, it has been an honor to contribute to the development of the new generation of IndyCar," said Gil de Ferran, team owner representative to the ICONIC Advisory Committee.  "We feel this new engine strategy is open, inclusive, powerful and high performance, in keeping with the historical values associated with Indy car racing. Additionally it poses relevant challenges to which the automotive industry faces today".

Committee members include de Ferran, Barnhart, Tony Cotman, Eddie Gossage, Rick Long, Tony Purnell and Neil Ressler. It is mediated by retired Air Force Gen. William R. Looney III.

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