Chevrolet V-6 Engine Ready for Competition Debut in Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
DETROIT (March 20, 2012) - The next chapter of Chevrolet’s storied history in IZOD IndyCar racing is set to begin this weekend at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.). The new purpose-built Chevy IndyCar twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 racing engine powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel will make its competition debut in the series’ season-opening race on the streets of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 25, 2012.
Following the November 2010 announcement that Chevrolet power will return to the premier open-wheel series, General Motors in conjunction with Ilmor Engineering have methodically worked through the development and subsequent testing of the 2.2-liter engine. As the goals in implementation of the design and production of the components were met, the excitement surrounding the countdown to competition continued to build.
Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 104 races, powering six driver champions, and scoring seven Indianapolis 500 victories.
During the final pre-season test sessions at both Sebring International Raceway and Barber Motorsports Park in recent weeks, the Chevrolet teams consistently went to the top of the time charts, setting a promising stage for the season-opening race.
“We are looking forward to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season getting underway this weekend in St. Petersburg,” said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. “Over the past year, everyone on Team Chevy has worked very hard, both on the dynamometer and on the track, to make sure the all-new Chevy IndyCar V-6 engine is ready for its debut. While the testing has gone very well, there is no substitution for competition and everyone on Team Chevy can’t wait for the drop of the green flag at St. Petersburg.”
While racing is deeply steeped in the DNA of Chevrolet dating back 100 years to founder Louis Chevrolet’s love of the sport, the dedication to constantly evolve the power and efficiency of Chevrolet’s production line-up is the driving force behind the return to the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Direct injection and turbocharging are fundamental elements of the 2012 Chevrolet IZOD IndyCar engine package, and both are key technologies in several current powerful and fuel-efficient Chevrolet production cars. Chevrolet’s best-selling model, the Cruze compact, and American’s favorite sports car, the Camaro, are just two examples of key Chevrolet products powered with direct injection engine technology.
Carrying the Chevrolet banner in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series will be five key-partner organizations. A total of 11 Chevy-powered cars are set for competition in St. Petersburg:
Andretti Autosport: Marco Andretti, No. 26 RC Cola Chevrolet; James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet and Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet
Ed Carpenter Racing: Ed Carpenter, No 20 Fuzzy’s Premium Vodka Chevrolet
KV Racing Technology: Rubens Barrichello, No. 8 BMC/EMBRASE Chevrolet; Tony Kanaan, No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics Chevrolet and E.J. Viso, No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA Chevrolet
Panther Racing: JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet
Team Penske: Ryan Briscoe, No. 2 IZOD Chevrolet; Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Shell V Power/Pennzoil Ultra Chevrolet and Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet
Practice for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will begin Friday, March 23. Qualifying will be Saturday at 1:55 p.m. ET and the race is scheduled to start on Sunday, March 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET with live coverage of the 100-lap event on ABC TV. The IMS Radio Network brings the action live to fans. Both the radio broadcast and live timing and scoring can be found on www.indycar.com.
CHEVROLET IN THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES - FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
MARCO ANDRETTI: "I think Chevy is definitely up to the task. The last time Chevy was in the series, they were the ones to beat. I mean, they really were. So far it's been a lot of fun working with them. You can tune (the engine) with the engineers (for each driver)... that we couldn't do before. I think we made the right decision (to join the Chevrolet-powered teams), and we have all the confidence in the world in those guys, so it's going to be fun.” JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: "I'm beyond excited to race in St. Pete this weekend. It will be my first time racing this circuit after sitting out last year waiting on sponsorship to come through. It's such a good feeling being able to start the season with everyone else - knowing I have a secure ride with a great sponsor and I get to be a part of it all from the start. This is going to be a huge weekend for IndyCar with the new DW12 and three engines manufactures - it will be the most wide open season opener we've had in a long time. I'm anxious, excited and nervous but really looking forward to it.
"The Go Daddy Chevy has felt good in testing; Ryan (Hunter-Reay), Marco (Andretti) and I have been working great together - I think all things combined we have the potential to come out strong this weekend and start the season right."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: "I think it's great that there's a lot of buzz going into the first race of the season about the engine manufacturers. I think it's good for the sport, and as a team, we have a lot of trust in Chevrolet and Ilmor with the new engine. We're focused on the variables we can control to better react throughout the weekend. Street circuits change dramatically from one session to the next, so if we've done our homework, we'll be at the front."
ED CARPENTER RACING:
ED CARPENTER: “This is a very exciting weekend for me and our team. To say that this winter has been busy would be an understatement. We started a new team with the help of Derrick Walker and the undertaking has been intense. But now, after testing, we are ready to go to St. Petersburg for the season opener. It seems like everything is new for us with new team, Ed Carpenter Racing; a new car, the DW12 Dallara; and, of course, the new Chevrolet Indy V-6 engine. Despite starting late, we have learned a lot about the engine and the car. We are getting settled with our new team members too. But our staff has been doing a superb job for a start-up team. Now, it’s time to go race and I am thrilled to be back in the cockpit. The season opener is always an adrenaline rush for a driver each year. And it is extra special for me with the new team.”
KV RACING TECHNOLOGY:
RUBENS BARRICHELLO: “I'm very much looking forward to my first ever IndyCar race and can't wait to get to St Pete. We had some good testing but now it’s time to race. The only thing I know about this track, is what I have seen on TV and it looks very nice indeed. I hope that I can learn the track quickly so I can have a good weekend along with my team mates at KV Racing Technology.”
TONY KANAAN: "I am very happy to be returning to St. Petersburg for the season-opener again. It's also nice to be back with KV Racing Technology for the second year and with more preparation than this time last year! I have always had great memories here, and I am hoping that this year will not be any different. I would like to thank GEICO and Mouser Electronics as well as my Brazilian sponsors for their support and look forward to being able to give them a great 2012 season."
E.J. VISO: "I am very excited to be heading back to St. Pete, in my backyard of Florida, for the fifth consecutive year. It's a track that I truly have a connection to. Every time I've been there I've been consistently fast and in a few instances very close to a podium finish. Hopefully the result we get this year will be the one that my team and I are working towards. So far we have found some pretty good improvements to the new car, we believe there are still more adjustments to tweak but as of right now we feel we are in a good position to start the 2012 IndyCar Championship."
JR HILDEBRAND: “I’m ready to rock and roll. St. Petersburg is always a great race, and the first turn alone is always pretty exciting – especially with the double-file restarts because you’re going from a huge airport runway down to a pretty tight right-hander. It’s a great place for us to start the season, St. Pete is a cool town and everybody down there really enjoys our racing. You also never know what’s going to happen with the weather; sometimes it rains while we’re there and sometimes you get typical beautiful Florida weather. For me personally this year, just knowing what to expect going into the season is really helpful. I feel like we’ve had a really productive offseason and the development on the National Guard Chevrolet has gone well. It’s nice to be part of working with the Panther guys and the Chevy guys this offseason, and we’ve found the car to be really responsive to all the changes we’ve made during the testing. All our test days have been more effective than what we experienced last year, and we’re confident that’s going to translate for us a lot of places we go this season.”
RYAN BRISCOE: “We are all very excited at Penske racing for the season to start with brand new cars and Chevy engines. I have high expectations for this year and a lot of hard work has gone in to be ready for this race in St. Petersburg. Hopefully we can come away with the win for Penske and Chevrolet.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES: "Finally the 2012 season is starting in St Pete and we are very anxious to start. We had a lot of great testing and I really feel like we are prepared for what will happen with the new car and Chevrolet engine. The No. 3 Shell Pennzoil was very strong in the open test and we want to make sure we get off to a strong start. We have won here before and hope to do it again.”
WILL POWER: "I'm looking forward to getting the season started – it is going to be very interesting to see how all the new cars and engines stack up against each other. We have had some strong practices with our new Chevy engines so far and should have a great package put together for the race. It is important for us to get off to a good start and I feel good about competing for the win in St. Pete."