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Penske/Ganassi/Ilmor tie-up with new Chevy engine?UPDATE It looks like our source on this rumor yesterday was pretty much spot on so we are upgrading this rumor to 'strong'. SpeedTV.com reports - In an announcement that is expected to reveal a partnership between Chevrolet, Ilmor Engineering and Team Penske, SPEED.com has learned that the trio who ushered in Chevrolet's first Indy Car engine in 1986 will be reunited to race together in 2012.
While speculation about GM's choice of a team partner for 2012 previously centered on the reigning series champions, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, a source close the negotiations tells SPEED.com that Chevy has tabbed Roger Penske's organization for its open-wheel return.
Penske is also expected to be in Indianapolis on Friday morning for the official announcement of GM joining the IndyCar series. Reached Thursday afternoon by SPEED.com, a Team Penske representative said: "No Comment" when asked about Friday's announcement.
Our sources also call for Ilmor Engineering, Honda's current partner for its IZOD IndyCar Series engine program, to break with the Japanese manufacturer and focus solely on Chevy's new 2.4L twin-turbo V6 IndyCar engine. Ilmor had been with Honda since its entry into the Indy Racing League in 2003 and did more than 50 percent of the workload of assembling and re-building engines along with Honda Performance Development.
A call to HPD president Erik Berkman went unreturned on Thursday.
11/11/10 Getting word that the Chevy IndyCar deal for engine rebuilds is not with Ganassi & ECR Engines, which is primarily a NASCAR engine shop for 1950's engine technology - push-rod engines with carburetors - and you wonder why today's younger generation think NASCAR is a joke.
Instead, the deal will be between Ilmor Engineering Ltd (which Roger Penske co-owns with Mario Illien) and GM.
Ilmor Engineering, Inc. [USA arm of Ilmor] (which Roger Penske co-owns with Mario Illien and Paul Morgan's widow) would do the rebuilding and servicing. zzzz
We hear HPD has not been overly thrilled with Ilmor USA because Penske has a contract for rebuilding a specific number of Honda's IndyCar engines. We hear that HPD is forgoing the profit which Ilmor USA earns from the IndyCar engine rebuilding.
So where does Ganassi fit in with all this? Well monkey see, monkey do. The Penske and Ganassi teams are like twin sisters. Whatever one does, the other follows. It's been that way for as long as we can remember. Then again, is it a bad thing to copy excellence - which both teams define.
If our sources are correct, this will be a huge blow to Honda because it means they lose their two top IndyCar teams. That won't sit well with them and you can bet HPD will burn the midnight oil to ensure they bury the Chevy engine on the race track. This could get interesting. Mark C.
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