ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – INDYCAR continues building momentum and solidifying its future by today announcing that manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda have signed multiyear contract extensions to supply engines for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
The announcement follows those earlier this year that chassis maker Dallara and tire supplier Firestone have also signed multiyear extensions, meaning all four major manufacturers have committed to the sport.
"This is a unique moment in the recent history of the Verizon IndyCar Series," said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. "To have all of our major manufacturers locked in with us for the foreseeable future points to the fact that they all have bought into the vision for the Verizon IndyCar Series. It's another sign of the positive momentum we continue to build as we grow this sport into the next decade."
The alignment of all four manufacturers for multiple years is a key component of INDYCAR's five-year plan for the Verizon IndyCar Series that Frye unveiled in January. Under the plan, aerodynamic regulations were frozen this season for the kits produced by Chevrolet and Honda in preparation for a universal aero kit to be used by all cars in 2018.
In keeping with INDYCAR's 2017 theme of "NEXT," confirming the two engine manufacturers for the future also lays the groundwork for attracting additional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to be the next to compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
"We have worked hard to harness the power of the paddock so we are all pulling together, and this is evidence of that," Frye said. "The fact both Honda and Chevrolet are encouraging INDYCAR to attract additional OEMs to compete is a sure sign that we are on the same page."
|(L to R) Firestone, Chevy, Jay Frye, Honda, Dallara|
INDYCAR debuted initial renderings of the 2018 car look in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the car will have enhanced safety through the reduction of aero parts on the top of the car. Additional downforce will be created from underneath the car and less drag off the back of the car, creating even better on-track competition. More details about the car and its look will be unveiled in coming weeks, with the goal of having it ready to test on track this summer.
The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season begins this weekend with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, with today's announcement capitalizing on the growing momentum of the past few seasons. Television ratings and viewership of Verizon IndyCar Series races has increased 55 percent over the past three years. Six events in 2016 reported record attendance, including the first announced sellout in the 100-race history of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Social media numbers continue to skyrocket, with INDYCAR increasing its followers in January and February by 241 percent on Facebook and an astounding 806 percent on Twitter over the same months last year. Last month's Phoenix Raceway open test drew more than 600,000 unique viewers to its live streaming.
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg airs live at noon ET Sunday on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. The remainder of the 17-race schedule includes the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 as well as visits to iconic Indy car venues including Phoenix Raceway, the streets of Long Beach, Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Watkins Glen International.