Indy 500 will have cars to bump on Bump Day
There are a few seats that have yet to be filled for next month’s Indianapolis 500, but after speaking with the three engine manufacturers who are providing engine leases for the 96th running of the legendary event, filling the 11 rows of three shouldn’t be a problem.
Despite a report that came out during the Barber round that claimed reaching 33 entries at Indy would be a challenge, Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus provided SPEED.com with an accurate minimum and maximum total number of cars the group will collectively power around the 2.5-mile oval.
“We’re working through those details (last weekend at Long Beach), but we’re going to be up in the 14 to 15 range,” said Chris Berube, Chevy’s new IndyCar Program Manager.
Chevy’s 11 fulltime teams are expected to fill most of the three to four extra engine leases for Indy, with two of those going to Andretti Autosport (fourth and fifth cars for Ana Beatriz and Sebastian Saavedra), and two other Chevy-powered teams could be ready to add one additional car apiece, satisfying the 14 to 15 leases the American manufacturer has to offer.
“The bottom line is that we’ve had more requests than we can support, but we’re working through those details based on who’s approached us,” Berube continued.
“We don’t want to take on too many and jeopardize the teams that are with us for the full season. Some of what we’re wrestling with here is making sure we provide the support they need, [but some who’ve approached Chevy for Indy] have the traits we want.”
Berube also noted that with Chevy’s Indy 500 engine allocation process almost completed, any new teams interested in joining the Bowtie camp will need to step forward immediately.
“Yeah, they’re going to have to,” he confirmed. “And the official word on our [Indy-only] partners, when it’s all done, will come out from the teams when they announce their line-ups.”
At Honda, the manufacturer confirmed it will add four leases for Indy.
“We will supply 14 cars with engines,” said Roger Griffiths, Honda Performance Development’s Technical Director.
Unlike Chevy, Griffiths verified that all of its Indy-only leases are spoken for.
In addition to its 10 season-long contracts, Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports announced a second Indy entry, Rahal Letterman Lanigan will begin fielding a second fulltime entry at the Speedway and at least one other Honda team is expected to add an additional car to its stable. More at Speed.com