CHAMPCAR/CART: Player's/Forsythe Signs on for Ford-Cosworth XF Power

In a move designed to bolster Ford-Cosworth's Champ Car program for 2000, Ford will supply Player's-Forsythe Racing XF engines for the 2000 season. Ford-Cosworth and Player's have a winning history together which included winning the 1995...

In a move designed to bolster Ford-Cosworth's Champ Car program for 2000, Ford will supply Player's-Forsythe Racing XF engines for the 2000 season. Ford-Cosworth and Player's have a winning history together which included winning the 1995 Indy 500 and going on to claim the 1995 CART Championship with Jacques Villeneuve behind the wheel. Ian Bisco, vice-president of Cosworth Racing, welcomes Player's-Forsythe back to the Ford-Cosworth team. He also went on to discuss the benefits of running a double-digit number of teams in CART as well as the rationale behind having to limit the number of teams that Cosworth can support for next season for the first time since 1993.

HOW DID THE PLAYER'S/FORSYTHE DEAL COME TOGETHER? "We have always had a good relationship with them going back to the early days of the team back in 1994. Player's gave us one of our more successful years in Champ Car racing when we won the Indy 500 and the CART championship back in 1995. Supplying Ford-Cosworth XF engines to Player's/Forsythe Racing gives us another race-winning team capable of challenging for the 2000 CART Championship. We are really looking forward to picking up where we left off. Forsythe approached us for the 2000 season looking to improve their package. They have a great group of talented engineers and a pair of very exciting drivers. Everything is in place for them to have a very successful 2000 season."

WITH THE ADDITION OF PLAYER'S/FORSYTHE RACING FOR 2000, FORD-COSWORTH WILL POWER FIVE TEAMS COMPRISING TEN CARS. TO DRAW A COMPARISON TO NASCAR, IT SEEMS THAT THE MULTI-CAR TEAMS ARE THE ONES HAVING SUCCESS. DOES THAT SAME METHODOLOGY WORK IN CART? HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR AN ENGINE MANUFACTURER TO SUPPLY AS MANY CART TEAMS AS POSSIBLE? "The more feedback we get the better. Every driver has a different trait and a different feel for the way the engine behaves. Some are obviously a lot better at describing what happens with the engine and the delivery of the power and others are better at giving feedback in areas such as engine response and getting the power down which helps us on the road courses. You also have certain drivers, who are better at keeping it wide-open on the ovals, which lends even more information. So by increasing your car count, you get a much broader range of feedback from your drivers. At the end of the day, you also have more data to work with and it helps you get a better perspective on what needs to be improved or worked on."

GIVEN THAT NO TWO DRIVERS ARE THE SAME, AND THAT THEIR STYLES CAN DIFFER GREATLY, DOES THE DIVERSITY IN FEEDBACK YOU GET HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CONTRADICT ITSELF? AND WOULDN'T THAT MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO MAKE CHANGES TO SATISFY ALL OF THE DRIVERS? "I don't think so. Generally, we have found that one driver has a feel for certain areas of the engine that another driver may not. So, when you identify an area in need of improvement, and fix it, typically the other drivers will come back and say to us that the changes we made do work, or that it does feel better. So, from my perspective, I'd like to run as many teams as we can manage to supply engines to. I don't really think there is a down side to it."

YOU SEEM TO HAVE A NUMBER OF TEAMS THAT HAVE EXPRESSED INTEREST IN SWITCHING TO FORD-COSWORTH POWER FOR 2000. HOWEVER, GIVEN THAT 2000 WILL BE THE FIRST YEAR OF THE XF ENGINE, AND TIME IS NEEDED TO MANUFACTURE OVER 100 BRAND NEW ENGINES, WILL THAT LIMIT HOW MANY TEAMS YOU CAN SUPPLY? "Well, yes, it looks like it will. For the first time since 1993, it seems the demand for Ford-Cosworth engines will exceed the supply available for the 2000 season. Ford and Cosworth have been proud of the fact that we are racers' engine builder. We have always had an open-door policy to supply any team with our engine, but unfortunately, because it takes time to build over 100 new XF engines, we may have to cap the number of teams we can supply. I hate to do it, but we cannot risk overextending ourselves. We owe it to not only the new teams, but to the teams who have been with us over the years to be able to supply the best engine, support personnel, and service to our teams. I won't compromise that in order to add another team."

SO IS PLAYER'S/FORSYTHE THE ONLY TEAM FORD WILL ADD NEXT SEASON? "No, we currently have negotiations pending which could add an additional team for 2000. That engine allocation request has been added and factored into the 2000 plans."

KNOWING THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO IMPOSE A CAP ON TEAMS FOR 2000 IS A TESTAMENT TO THE FAITH THAT PEOPLE ARE PUTTING INTO YOUR ENGINES FOR NEXT SEASON. "Yes, it's good for morale. Everyone from the guys at the machine shop back in England to the guys who support the engines at the track are very excited for 2000. It gives us a real shot in the arm, but it also adds pressure to make sure we deliver. But it keeps us all focused and drives us to make sure we will have the best engine in CART."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve