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American company eyes IndyCar engineUPDATE Honda has challenged rival manufacturers to enter IndyCar from 2012 and provide engine competition for the new era of regulations, reports this week's AUTOSPORT magazine. The Japanese engine maker will supply power units for the 2012-spec cars, but no other manufacturers have yet come forward to express an interest in joining the series.
"Competition is what we want, it's our DNA," said Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman. "We haven't seen anyone else raise their hand but we are hoping they do.
"Anyone could compete. What's preventing them from throwing their hats into the ring?"
But Berkman reckons it's already too late to start a program from scratch for the 2012 season.
"If a company is not fairly well along their design process by now, you won't launch a reliable product by the start of 2012," he said. "If a company had a suitable product capable of producing 750 horsepower in another series then we would already know about it.
"We are operating on the assumption there won't be any competition in 2012 - we have to be prepared to be the sole supplier. If sole supply changes to competition at some point, then we have made some investment for that as well."
IndyCar boss Randy Bernard claimed at last week's Mid Ohio round that an American engine supplier is "very, very interested" in joining the series. He is also planning a trip to Europe to meet with more manufacturers. AutoWeek
08/08/10 Still to be determined is if a new engine manufacturer will enter the IndyCar series to give Honda some on-track competition. Series CEO Randy Bernard said that remains a possibility as he has had discussions with manufacturers as recently as this week, and will have more in the days ahead.
"There is an American manufacturer very, very interested," he said.
We hear that manufacturer is probably Ford, or is subsidiary Mazda who already supply engines to many feeder series to IndyCar. Would Cosworth do the engine for Ford again?
Roush is doing the turbo Eco-boost V6 for Lola and ALMS but that is a production based engine. Honda looked at that and decided to go with a purpose built engine for IndyCar. Therefore, this engine will never be able to beat the Honda unit. In order to beat Honda a company is going to have to design a purpose built engine for IndyCar. That costs a lot of money and given the TV ratings the IRL gets on Versus, where is the return on investment?
Coming from a NASCAR background, Roush and Yates do primarily production based race engines. A manufacturer is going to have to hire a 'Cosworth' type company who knows how to build race engines at the highest level (i.e. F1 type technology) if it has any chance of beating Honda.
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