IRL stuck with just Honda
The next meeting between the IndyCar Series and engine supplier Honda Performance Development is set for July 10 in Toronto before the July 12 Honda Indy Toronto, according to Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division of the IndyCar Series.
Sources within the IndyCar Series believe HPD has moved away from its stance of wanting a rival automaker to compete against and may see value remaining as a single-engine supplier to the series.
Last June, the IndyCar Series had an Engine Manufacturers Roundtable that was attended by automakers from throughout the world. German manufacturer Volkswagen showed the most interest in joining IndyCar and has even submitted plans for approval from its board of directors.
But while VW and Audi hold firm on their desire for an inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, HPD won’t yield from its desire to compete with a V-6 turbocharged engine.
According to Les Mactaggart, the senior technical director of the IndyCar Series, a decision needs to be made soon so the next phase of design and rules for such items as the new chassis can be made.
“We’re getting close,” Mactaggart said. “We need to know soon who is in and who is out and what kind of engine we will be using. I don’t think anyone believes an equivalency formula between an inline 4-cylinder and a V-6 would be ideal.”
With the current world economy, HPD may believe a single-engine supplier in IndyCar makes better financial sense than going to battle against another carmaker.
“I would like to think they see with unification some metrics and measurements going up and they have made a decision since that time to depart Formula One and they have been clear with us that we are their pinnacle form of motorsports,” Terry Angstadt said. “As their top racing series I think there is more positive dialogue along those lines.” “I do know that we are all focused on driving the costs of participation down,” Angstadt said. “This is a very expensive engine; it was built for competition. As a sole supplier, you don’t need this kind of engine and the cost that is used to rebuild and maintain. I don’t think anyone is thinking of an equivalency formula at this stage. The final call on engine size has not been made yet but I think it would be next to impossible for us to run both an inline 4-cylinder and a V-6.”
Angstadt is not concerned that VW has yet to inform if they are in or out of IndyCar consideration because of the current state of the economy. Versus.com
[Editor's Note: We predicted the day the IRL announced the Versus deal that the TV ratings would be too low for any new engine manufacturers to agree to enter the series. So while Versus is paying the IRL a few million a year, they lost a lot more (tens of millions) for each manufacturer that ultimately said no.]