Team Chevy Racing ready for Birmingham hilly road course Following a successful debut for the Chevrolet V-6 in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) is the next stop for the five organizations and 11 drivers campaigning the Chevrolet twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 2.2-liter engine powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel.
Helio Castroneves won the series’ season-opener at St. Petersburg last Sunday to pace four Team Chevy drivers in the top-five.
“Clearly at St. Petersburg, what we learned is that we do have an opportunity to vie for the wins every week,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “We had some work to do, so we got right back at it on Monday after the race to be prepared for our next event in Alabama. I’m very pleased with the teams and the drivers that are on the Chevy roster. I’m very pleased.”
Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing, added: “Congratulations to Helio Castroneves and Team Penske on their exciting win on the streets of St. Petersburg. It was a tremendous way for the Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 engine to start its inaugural season.”
Racing on a variety of track configurations, different surfaces and changing climates is one of the dynamics of IndyCar racing. These variances present Chevrolet engineers and technical partner Ilmor Engineering with the task of ensuring their preparation for each event perfectly suits the venue that is next on the schedule.
“Our Chevrolet engineers have been working alongside the engineers at Ilmor Engineering and at our Chevy teams to assure we are all ready for the second race of the season,” Kent continued. “Our Chevy teams had a very good test at Barber Motorsports Park earlier in the month, so we believe we should be very competitive on Sunday when the green flag falls.”
Barber Motorsports Park, located just outside Birmingham, Ala., is a 2.38-mile, 17-turn, purpose-built racing circuit with elevation changes of more than 80 feet. With a wide racing surface of 45 feet and the elevation changes, the track creates some of the greatest side-by-side action of the season.
“Every race this year will present a new set of challenges for our Chevrolet and Ilmor engineers as they work to optimize the engines performance for the various different track configurations,” concluded Kent. “This week the focus is on the purpose-built Barber Motorsports Park racing circuit which will truly test the versatility of the Chevrolet V-6 twin-turbocharged, direct-injected IndyCar engine.”
Two drivers now under the Chevrolet-powered umbrella have mastered the two previous IZOD IndyCar Series events held at BMP. Castroneves was the winner in the series’ debut at the race track in 2010. His Team Penske teammate, Will Power, took the win in 2011.
Chevrolet’s win record in Indy car competition now stands at 106. Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines which powered six driver champions, and scored seven Indianapolis 500 victories.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is scheduled to take the green flag on Sunday, April 1 at 1:45 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the 90-lap event will be televised by the NBC Sports Network. And broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. Both the radio broadcast, and live timing and scoring can be found on www.indycar.com.
CHEVROLET IN THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES - FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AAA INSURANCE TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POINTS LEADER: ““I feel great this week going to Barber, a great place to go race and where I have enjoyed winning before. Last week Chevy gave me a great engine, not only on Horsepower but also on the fuel mileage as well, and we are counting on that again this week in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske car. It’s been a great start to 2012 and I hope to continue the success this weekend.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 3RD IN STANDINGS: "It was good to see the fuel mileage we were able to get from the Chevy (at St. Pete). We showed the horsepower in qualifying with the top five positions on the grid, and then took advantage of its efficiency in the race to finish on the podium. For Barber, it's a much different type of road course (than St. Pete), and I'm confident Chevy will give us what we need to win and be up-front. I've been impressed with the effort and responsiveness of the Chevy and Ilmor engineers. Every time I mention something or request something with the engine, they make the change or the adjustments each time. Every time we went on track, they had an improvement in place, which gives me confidence."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 4TH IN STANDINGS: "Barber is one of the proper natural terrain road courses... and it's one of those cool tracks that lets you really stretch the legs of these Indy cars. It been an exciting race there the last couple years and was my debut IndyCar race last year, so it will be nice to go back with Andretti Autosport and Go Daddy this year and see what we can do in round two. "Obviously testing with four or five cars is a lot different than with 26, so I think the track is going to get a lot faster with all the rubber going down. And certainly it will be good to have the whole field there to really gauge where we are in road course trim. We know roughly were we sit in street course trim (after last week's race in St. Pete) so we just have to see how it is on the faster tracks, but our test (at Barber) went well for us so I'm confident we can be in a strong positions this weekend."
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 5TH IN STANDINGS: "Our goal is to build on the good results that Team Penske and Chevy achieved at St. Pete. We tested well at Barber before so we are feeling confident about a good performance this weekend. This is a good track for our team and we hope to keep 2012 going in the right direction towards a championship."
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 7TH IN STANDINGS: “I am looking forward to going back to Barber. Our car tested well there in the off-season and we should be able to capitalize on having a great car. It was great last year to get a win for Verizon and Team Penske and I’m excited to see what we can do there this year with the new Chevy engine.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 14TH IN STANDINGS: "I'm ready to get going at a place where we've been really competitive in the past. We led a lot of laps there, so it gives me and the team confidence that we'll be good there this weekend. You can't take anything from our setups at St. Pete that will apply to Barber because the tracks are so different. But you take what we had there before and what we've learned so far with the new car, and I think we'll be good."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC/EMBRASE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 17TH IN STANDINGS: ““After my first experience in St Pete I look forward to Barber and can't wait to get there. We tested there last month so I least I will start knowing the place. Overtaking looks like it's not going to be easy so qualifying will be important. I hope that my teammates and I have a good race.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 18TH IN STANDINGS: ““Coming off the first event at St. Pete, we are excited with the progress of the new Fuzzy’s team. We felt we were better than 18th there. But we learned a lot in the first race with the new car, the new engine and the new team. We are on schedule moving right into the next race at Barber (Motorsports Park). We were able to test there a few weeks ago, so we have a little bit of knowledge heading into the race. It was been my first time racing at the facility, so I need to learn more about the course. I feel more comfortable in the car and, with a whole race weekend under our belt, I believe we can go to Barber with a good understanding of the new equipment. I’m more excited to go to Barber now.
It was a great weekend for Chevrolet at St. Petersburg. We were all very pleased with how the weekend went for the Team Chevy cars. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum rolling into Barber and keep winning poles and races for Chevrolet. Obviously, we want to better our 18th place result that we had at St. Pete, and try to fight our way into the top-ten.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 19TH IN STANDINGS: “We ran really well at Barber last year and the only reason we didn’t transfer to the second round in qualifying was because we were in a tougher group by a quite a lot. That was one of those weekends last year that we just picked up a ton of pace and figured out a lot of things through the entire weekend. Barber stands out as a place where hopefully we’ll be able to capitalize on what we’ve learned and after having a good test there this offseason, we feel like we have a good handle on what we need to be doing to get speed out of the car. It’s definitely a difficult track, but I think it really ends up being rewarding track to those who perform well there, and the National Guard Chevy boys feel really good heading into the weekend.”
TONY KANAAN – NO. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY W/SH CHEVROLET: 26TH IN STANDINGS: "Barber is one of the most beautiful facilities in USA. It’s always nice to race there. The track has a lot of different corners and elevations which makes it very difficult to have a good car all the time. Qualifying will be very important here because it’s a difficult place to pass."