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DATE News (chronologically)
04/07/10
irl
alms
IRL and ALMS to jump onboard with 'global' engine formula
Inside word from the IndyCar talks suggests that a decision on a fundamental engine architecture is close. No one has revealed as of yet whether we're talking a 4-cylinder turbo, a turbocharged V6 or a small turbo V8, but one piece of information that's emerging is that the discussions have moved to the point where a common engine architecture is close to being agreed upon. By the sounds of it this would mean a "spec" engine is imminent, which would mean the same-old, "business as usual" type of scenario, but that wouldn't be accurate in this case.

The fundamental difference emerging from these latest discussions is that even though there might be a common bottom end to the engines, the induction/fuel-injection systems would be "free" and left up to the participating manufacturers' own designs. This would encourage more manufacturer involvement - meaning more teams, sponsors and bigger fields - which is something that everyone involved in the discussions wants. It would also mean that IndyCar's biggest event - the Indianapolis 500 - would become a prime target once again for manufacturers wanting to make promotional hay about winning the sport's greatest single race.

This emerging new engine scenario has already piqued the interest of several new manufacturers who haven't been on the rumor radar screens of late as companies interested in participating in IndyCar. As a matter of fact this may change everything, with as many as a half-dozen manufacturers now eager to play, given the direction of the new rules (See related article on 'global' engine concept).

But there could be potentially more to this new engine scenario too. Much more. What if the new IndyCar engine design package also became eligible for use in the American Le Mans Series' LMP1 class? Wouldn't it then make sense for manufacturers participating in IndyCar to amortize the costs of their involvement across more than one series, with the technical transference aspect - the overriding raison d'etre of the ALMS - becoming even more attractive?

I would hope that the powers that be in IndyCar finalize this new engine package asap, because without it I can see the day when Indy-style racing might disappear altogether. And I would also hope that the ALMS and the ACO take a long, hard look at this new IndyCar engine package when it emerges.

Because it has the potential to be the lifeblood of their series as well. Autoextremist

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