Cosworth to return to IndyCar
The engine that powered a third of Formula One’s grid on Sunday at the Canadian Grand Prix could be on the streets of Toronto and Edmonton by 2012 for the Honda Indys. And it could even be in the endurance racing sports cars of the American Le Mans Series at Mosport International Raceway by next season.
In an exclusive interview with the Toronto Sun, Cosworth general manager Mark Gallagher said Sunday that it is the goal of his company to be building race engines for a number of North American racing series with the next year.
“We would love to be putting our Cosworth engines into the IZOD IndyCars series and the American le Mans Series,” Gallagher said.
IndyCar bosses are already looking at bringing in a new chassis for the 2012 series to replace the current Dallaras that have been the mainstay of open-wheel racing’s top North American loop for almost a decade. zzzz
And it has been rumored that the parent Indy Racing League could announce soon that it will open IndyCar racing to competing engine builders at that time as well car manufacturers.
Honda has been the lone engine supplier in the series since Toyota switched its emphasis from open wheel to NASCAR racing after the 2005 season.
“I don’t want to give too much away,” Gallagher said. “But we already have the facilities and the manufacturing capabilities in our U.S. plants to make this happen.”
Cosworth currently builds engines for the Williams, Lotus, HRT and Virgin F-1 teams.
This season marked Cosworth’s return to F-1 after a three-year absence and it is competing against the big-budget boys from Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
But Gallagher said that he dislikes the David vs. Goliath analogy because Cosworth has been in the business of making horse power for nearly half a century.
“Don’t forget that for 40 years — up until 2004 — we were owned by Ford and that left the company with a great legacy of manufacturing,” he said. “And because of the kinds of facilities we inherited, we can build a much more affordable engine.”
Gallagher said that what might cost a Ferrari or a Mercedes $10 million US to develop an engine, Cosworth can do it for a fraction of that.
“We have a small, but dedicated staff of engineers and mechanics who are second to none in their abilities to build fast, reliable and affordable engines,” he said.
It is that fact which makes Cosworth a real candidate to be part of any new engine program that IndyCar might consider.
Also a big plus for the Cosworth efforts to make it back into North American racing is that the company’s co-owners — Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe — are both based in the U.S. and Kalkhoven is a partner in KV Racing Technology — team that has two cars in the IZOD IndyCar series and will have Canada’s Paul Tracy in one of their Dallaras in both Toronto and Edmonton this season. Toronto Sun