CHAMPCAR/CART: Engine boost set at 37 inches for 2001

MONTEREY, Calif. (September 10, 2000) - With its Champ Cars reaching speeds nearing 250 miles per hour at some race facilities, Championship Auto Racing Teams has sought a way to reduce the speeds and improve the competitiveness of the 1500-pound,...

MONTEREY, Calif. (September 10, 2000) - With its Champ Cars reaching speeds nearing 250 miles per hour at some race facilities, Championship Auto Racing Teams has sought a way to reduce the speeds and improve the competitiveness of the 1500-pound, open-wheel cars that race around the world in its FedEx Championship Series.

After exploring a number of alternatives, and conducting several meetings with its engine manufacturers, CART President of Racing Operations Hal Whiteford announced today that CART will reduce the maximum allowable intake manifold (turbocharger) pressure in the FedEx Series from 40 to 37 inches for next season and will make a further reduction to 34 inches for 2002. The changes will decrease horsepower from the current 900 level to 775 for the 2002 season.

"Technology is a critical component of what CART is about," said Whiteford. "And the technological advances in our racing series come at an incredible rate. The engineers from Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, who make these race cars go at these incredible speeds, are some of the top engineering minds in the world. It's their job to squeeze every bit of speed out of these machines.

"On the other hand, it is our job at CART to make sure that the competition is, first and foremost, safe, while also being very fast, entertaining and exciting. After jointly exploring a variety of options, we came to the conclusion that the reduction in boost pressure was the best direction. I want to take this opportunity to thank each of our four manufacturers for their input and support in making this initiative a reality."

The new engine formula will reduce intake manifold pressure to 37 inches in 2001, a decrease of approximately 50-60 horsepower, and then a drop to 34 inches of boost will take place in 2002, decreasing the horsepower by approximately 50-60 more horsepower.

Those reductions, along with aerodynamic changes that are being explored, will help CART achieve the desired results.

"It's somewhat difficult to say," said Whiteford when asked about the speeds he expects to see after the boost pressure reductions.

" It is our job to keep the racing safe, competitive and entertaining and we expect that this initiative will do that. One more thing to keep in mind is that speeds are relative to each respective racing circuit. Speed reductions will vary from one track to another. We are confident this is a approach that will work effectively for all of us as we move the FedEx Series ahead over the next couple of seasons."

Whiteford added that the engine manufacturers are working with CART to identify an engine formula that will begin with the 2003 FedEx Championship Series racing season. Meetings to discuss the direction and details of that formula are scheduled for later this year.

-CART-

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Series IndyCar