Editorial

CART N/A Engine/Car Update

 

 by Mark Cipolloni
November 4, 2001

Go to our forums to discuss this article

There is a lot of speculation about CART's future, and a lot of that centers on its new engine formula.  It looks like the new engine will be 100% IRL except we are hearing that at least two manufacturers are willing to bump up the rev limits.  However, the CART team owners may decide to stick with the 10,700 RPM IRL rev limit to make it easier for Chevy and Nissan to enter the series.  Toyota's Lee White thinks maybe 11,500 RPM the first year is possible by all manufactures. That's only 800 RPM more than the IRL, so it should not be too hard to achieve.  At that RPM, the engine will produce right around 700 to 725 HP.

Going forward Lee thinks CART should shoot for 12,000 to 12,500 RPM.  At that RPM the engine will produce 725 to 750 HP, a level he feels is best to produce good racing.  

Did you know that Ford and Toyota were very involved in the discussions with the IRL when the new 2003 engine specs were developed?  In fact a lot of Ford's ideas are in the new IRL engine spec.   Learning that, we are quite surprised with Ford's current position of not wanting to build a 3.5 L engine.  We think they eventually will.

The IRL engine specs were developed so the engines could rev as high as 13,500 RPM some day, limited by piston speed.  And the specs were specifically developed to allow the engine to work well on both ovals and road courses.

We also hear that a lot of attention is being given to an open exhaust, i.e. a manufacturer can use an exhaust manifold/header crossover layout, giving the Champ Car engine a unique sound.

We also learned that John Judd is actively working on a modified version of his 3.4 L N/A endurance engine.  That engine is good for 3,000 kilometers (1800 miles) between rebuilds and only weighs 235 lbs, a pretty impressive engine.  Judd is spending his own resources to open that engine up to a 90-degree vee and develop a CART/IRL 3.5 L engine with hopes a car manufacturer will put their name on the engine.  If not, he may offer it as a Judd, but it can't race at Indy unless a manufacturer puts their name on the engine, per the IRL rules.  Bottom line is that it appears CART has two engine manufacturers willing to play, and we hear more are in the wings.

We are also hearing whispers, as reported on our rumors page, that Mugen is developing a 3.5 L N/A engine that Honda would someday badge as their own.  Mugen is essentially a subsidiary of Honda and we are hearing more and more rumors that Honda will be back.

As for our idea of taking weight out of the car, that is gaining acceptance quickly.  The IRL engine, at 295 Lbs, will be about 30 Lbs lighter than the current Champ Car engine with all the turbo hardware.  The chassis makers have told us they have about 100 Lbs of ballast in the cars now in the form of metal plates fastened to the underside of the car.  That alone means 130 Lbs can easily be removed from the cars. However, since the chassis is going to be made safer, which will add weight (we hear 16 Lbs), it now looks like taking 100 Lbs out of the Champs cars looks like the right number to shoot for.

As for the appearance of the car, a Champ Car should look unique.  The IRL side pods have a much beefier look, as a result of the IRL rulebook, and are therefore, a much higher profile for added oval track protection.  Continuing today's trend, Champ Car side pods won't be as high, giving them a sleeker look.  We hear the goal is for the CART and IRL car to have the same spline, i.e. chassis tub and engine.  Everything else is essentially bolt-on - the side pods, the transmission, suspension, body parts, etc., and can all be different if desired.

As for the air scoop behind the drivers head, we hear CART is looking at an integrated one within the roll hoop, rather than above it.  This will give the Champ Cars a much sleeker look as well.  In this article we addressed that issue, so we are glad to hear CART is paying attention to the importance of image of their product.

As we have stated on numerous occasions, it is imperative that CART retain its unique identity or the IRL will undercut them with lower sanctioning fees for the same product.  With its unique venues, stronger teams, better sounding engine, slightly more HP, lighter cars, different transmissions, and a sleeker looking car, that should be achievable, but it will require walking a fine line between being unique, yet, close enough to the IRL to make it easy for the teams to compete at Indy and to keep costs in check.

All this assumes, however, that the Franchise Board can agree on the normally aspirated engine.  At the board meeting last Friday night, there were still several owners who feel the engine is too much like the IRL, and favor a turbo engine, while others can't wait to get to the N/A engine fast enough. Needless to say, this issue isn't dead yet......and as Derrick Walker put it, we're still in limbo.

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article

Author

Other Editorials

An in-depth interview with Jonathan Vannini

Comparing CART and F1

Vannini advocates major overhaul to rescue CART series

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Lights to IRL Specs - Why the new Indy Lights cars should meet IRL specs

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Standing Starts are they right for CART

Visit the Nascartop50

Our ranking out of 750 NASCAR websites since joining on 7/3/00

Convert this page to
another language

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2001, AutoRacing1, Inc., Hamilton, NJ

AutoRacing1.com - CART Editorial Page

Editorial

CART N/A Engine/Car Update

 

 by Mark Cipolloni
November 4, 2001

Go to our forums to discuss this article

There is a lot of speculation about CART's future, and a lot of that centers on its new engine formula.  It looks like the new engine will be 100% IRL except we are hearing that at least two manufacturers are willing to bump up the rev limits.  However, the CART team owners may decide to stick with the 10,700 RPM IRL rev limit to make it easier for Chevy and Nissan to enter the series.  Toyota's Lee White thinks maybe 11,500 RPM the first year is possible by all manufactures. That's only 800 RPM more than the IRL, so it should not be too hard to achieve.  At that RPM, the engine will produce right around 700 to 725 HP.

Going forward Lee thinks CART should shoot for 12,000 to 12,500 RPM.  At that RPM the engine will produce 725 to 750 HP, a level he feels is best to produce good racing.  

Did you know that Ford and Toyota were very involved in the discussions with the IRL when the new 2003 engine specs were developed?  In fact a lot of Ford's ideas are in the new IRL engine spec.   Learning that, we are quite surprised with Ford's current position of not wanting to build a 3.5 L engine.  We think they eventually will.

The IRL engine specs were developed so the engines could rev as high as 13,500 RPM some day, limited by piston speed.  And the specs were specifically developed to allow the engine to work well on both ovals and road courses.

We also hear that a lot of attention is being given to an open exhaust, i.e. a manufacturer can use an exhaust manifold/header crossover layout, giving the Champ Car engine a unique sound.

We also learned that John Judd is actively working on a modified version of his 3.4 L N/A endurance engine.  That engine is good for 3,000 kilometers (1800 miles) between rebuilds and only weighs 235 lbs, a pretty impressive engine.  Judd is spending his own resources to open that engine up to a 90-degree vee and develop a CART/IRL 3.5 L engine with hopes a car manufacturer will put their name on the engine.  If not, he may offer it as a Judd, but it can't race at Indy unless a manufacturer puts their name on the engine, per the IRL rules.  Bottom line is that it appears CART has two engine manufacturers willing to play, and we hear more are in the wings.

We are also hearing whispers, as reported on our rumors page, that Mugen is developing a 3.5 L N/A engine that Honda would someday badge as their own.  Mugen is essentially a subsidiary of Honda and we are hearing more and more rumors that Honda will be back.

As for our idea of taking weight out of the car, that is gaining acceptance quickly.  The IRL engine, at 295 Lbs, will be about 30 Lbs lighter than the current Champ Car engine with all the turbo hardware.  The chassis makers have told us they have about 100 Lbs of ballast in the cars now in the form of metal plates fastened to the underside of the car.  That alone means 130 Lbs can easily be removed from the cars. However, since the chassis is going to be made safer, which will add weight (we hear 16 Lbs), it now looks like taking 100 Lbs out of the Champs cars looks like the right number to shoot for.

As for the appearance of the car, a Champ Car should look unique.  The IRL side pods have a much beefier look, as a result of the IRL rulebook, and are therefore, a much higher profile for added oval track protection.  Continuing today's trend, Champ Car side pods won't be as high, giving them a sleeker look.  We hear the goal is for the CART and IRL car to have the same spline, i.e. chassis tub and engine.  Everything else is essentially bolt-on - the side pods, the transmission, suspension, body parts, etc., and can all be different if desired.

As for the air scoop behind the drivers head, we hear CART is looking at an integrated one within the roll hoop, rather than above it.  This will give the Champ Cars a much sleeker look as well.  In this article we addressed that issue, so we are glad to hear CART is paying attention to the importance of image of their product.

As we have stated on numerous occasions, it is imperative that CART retain its unique identity or the IRL will undercut them with lower sanctioning fees for the same product.  With its unique venues, stronger teams, better sounding engine, slightly more HP, lighter cars, different transmissions, and a sleeker looking car, that should be achievable, but it will require walking a fine line between being unique, yet, close enough to the IRL to make it easy for the teams to compete at Indy and to keep costs in check.

All this assumes, however, that the Franchise Board can agree on the normally aspirated engine.  At the board meeting last Friday night, there were still several owners who feel the engine is too much like the IRL, and favor a turbo engine, while others can't wait to get to the N/A engine fast enough. Needless to say, this issue isn't dead yet......and as Derrick Walker put it, we're still in limbo.

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article

Author

Other Editorials

An in-depth interview with Jonathan Vannini

Comparing CART and F1

Vannini advocates major overhaul to rescue CART series

Engines - There, that was easy, now let's get on with the racing

Americans don't realize what they have in CART

A proposed solution to CART's engine dilemma

Ford Cosworth opens its doors

Bullish on CART

A German's first-time CART experience

My thoughts on a variety of CART issues - by Jon Vannini

AutoRacing1 Exclusive - Is Shanghai in CART's future?

As CART goes global, what about its sponsors?

If Mexico City will get 350,000, would India get 400,000?

The inevitable globalization of CART

CART's new TV deal - don't put the CART before the horse

CART in China - Why Shanghai is the best venue

Rockingham is ready for CART.  Is CART ready for Rockingham?

Beating a dead horse.  Where's my fork?

Successful CART Venues - It takes two to tango

Setting the record straight on CART's German 500

Rebuilding CART from the grassroots up!

Could this be the break Gidley has been waiting for?

CART, ALMS or NASCAR extravaganza weekends

A true global vision will serve CART well

A proposal for CART and IRL to coexist peacefully

The Triple Crown - a proposal for CART's success

650HP, 750HP, 850HP, it doesn't seem to matter

Movie Review: DRIVEN

Ryan Arciero hopes to continue family dynasty

CART & IRL, a missed opportunity

Things are happening at CART

CART' Data Acquisition Systems - there's a new kid on the block.

CART's next moves will be crucial.

The greatest Long Beach GP of all-time.

CART & IRL - close, and yet so far.

CART Engines, if it ain't broke, don't fix it

And the 2001 CART Champion will be....

The HANS Device saved my fathers life

Soft walls or soft cars?

Safety- It's going to take more than just magic to fix

CART vs. IRL, Hatfields vs. McCoys

DRIVEN is CART's best chance to become mainstream

Is CART's problem really a lack of American's?

CART vs. NASCAR - TV Coverage

Perhaps CART need look no further than NASCAR to understand that the Bubbas' rule auto racing

Book review - Autocourse 2000/2001

Do heroes make a sport, or does a sport make heroes?

To-Do-List, for CART's new President

 Lawsuits, Will Greg Moore's final legacy to racing be more than one of "spirit"? 

Tire Warmers, an idea whose time has come

Branding CART and their race cars

Will CART's next leader be a corporate visionary?

Addressing CART's TV issues

CART, do you know who you are?

Will CART miss this boat too, - Destined to forever race in the shadows of NASCAR?

Lights to IRL Specs - Why the new Indy Lights cars should meet IRL specs

Soft Walls - drivers take a stand while you still can

Sigma team - ready to do combat in CART

CART Fan Forum - Highlights from CART's very first Fan Forum

Warren Hughes - A name to remember

CART restarts - NASCAR Style

Mario Andretti Tribute - America's Driver of the Century

Shift w/o Lift - How it works

Aerodynamics - CART's chance to make progressive changes

CART's HP dilemma

Soft Walls - Finally, a safer wall system

Buddy Rice deserves a shot at Champ Cars

Choices, Choices, we rate possible new CART venues

CART must avoid Detroit's politics

10 ways for CART to invest $100 million

Montoya and Ganassi do CART proud at Indy

Welcome to AutoRacing1.com

A year of progress shapes Rockingham

A solution for CART's franchise dilemma

Lausitzring nears completion, fighting hard to win CART date

Paul Tracy keeps his Kool, wins LBGP for 2nd time

What is an American driver?

Warming up at Nazareth

172 mph in a Champ Car is the ultimate adrenaline rush

Standing Start Rules proposed standing start rules for CART

Standing Starts are they right for CART

Visit the Nascartop50

Our ranking out of 750 NASCAR websites since joining on 7/3/00

Convert this page to
another language

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2001, AutoRacing1, Inc., Hamilton, NJ