Can Champ Car adopt new F1 engine rules?

UPDATE A reader writes, I doubt Bernie's approval will be "needed." If F1 actually sticks to this new engine formula and OWRS accepts it without modification (something they will impress upon each engine manufacturer in private) Bernie would be an absolute fool to try and prevent F1 engine manufacturers from selling to OWRS. These are exactly the kinds of economy of scale open wheel racing needs to drive costs down, permit more systems interchangeability and thereby increase the number of teams capable (funded) of participating in F1, OWRS/CCWS, ALMS, et al. The NASCAR juggernaut is a threat to F1 too and Bernie knows this. Driving down cost drives the creation of new teams and lowers sponsorship cost making both F1 and CCWS a better buy to new and current sponsors that wish to tap into the more "upscale" consumer that NASCAR does NOT capture as well as everyone thinks. J.N. Anderson, Chicago, IL Yet another reader chimes in – It certainly makes for some interesting "economies-of-scale" possibilities if BOTH Champ Car and F1 adopt the identical 2.4L V-8 engine specs!…………..Many years ago, gasoline was "dropped" by USAC because of a problem with "very high flammability" in oval track crashes, but I don't know if that holds true with today's modern fire suppression technologies! And what would Kevin Kalkhoven do with his "highly rumored" purchase of Cosworth operations in the USA? Such a move, in light of this possible future "commonality" of engines with F1, would only insure the short-term supply of "obsolete, dead-end design" engines to Champ Car, but in the long-run he'd have some quite expensive "boat anchor" technology on his hands! Perhaps he's also seriously considering going into the F1 engine manufacturing business as well! Bottom Line : Having a "common" engine between Champ Car & F1 just makes too much economic sense (so it will probably NEVER happen! Budde King, Arizona

Dear JN and Budde, Recall the rumor we posted not too long ago that said Ford Cosworth was pretty far along on the design of a 2.4 L V8 Formula One engine (as was Ferrari). The useful life of the existing Champ Car engines are just one more year anyway because new engines are rumored to be coming in 2006 to go along with a new Champ Car. If Bernie is indeed working closely with OWRS as continued rumors suggest, Kalkhoven buying Cosworth (both the UK and USA operations) makes perfect sense. The new F1 engine rules won't reward manufacturers who want to spend infinite amounts of money on their engine program, meaning Cosworth's customer engines would be much more competitive with Ferrari, BMW, Honda and Mercedes under the new rules than they are today. Kalkhoven is a shrewd and sly fox and it would not surprise us one bit if he knows exactly what the grand plan is – recall the articles, CART, Like the Phoenix, about to rise up from the ashes and Why Bernie could and should buy Champ Car. Intuition tells us that Bernie will someday own part of Champ Car and strengthen road racings position against the onslaught of the Oval Track Cartel. Mark C..

10/23/04 Assuming that Max Mosley wins his battle with engine manufacturers and pushes through the new 2.4 L V8 F1 engines for 2006 and beyond, is it inconceivable to think that Champ Car could adopt the same exact engine specs lock, stock and barrel? Initially one might think so, however, the new rules are very IRL-like in that they limit what an engine designer can do in terms of exotic materials, bore, stroke, weight, etc. and hence significantly reduces the cost of the engines. There is nothing stopping Champ Car from doing this and moving to petrol instead of Methanol. If they do that then they open up the entire series to all the F1 engine manufacturers to supply identical engines in both F1 and Champ Car. It may make a lot of sense, but Bernie Ecclestone would have to approve of the idea. Pure speculation of course, but food for thought. Mark C.

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