IRL: 2003-2005 engine update

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 3, 2001 - Engine specifications that maintain the Indy Racing League's founding principle of providing owners, drivers and manufacturers the opportunity to race in a cost-controlled environment that breeds close ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 3, 2001 - Engine specifications that maintain the Indy Racing League's founding principle of providing owners, drivers and manufacturers the opportunity to race in a cost-controlled environment that breeds close competition were publicly announced today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by League officials.

Joining in the announcement of the 2003 Indy Racing League engine specifications were representatives from three manufacturers - General Motors, Infiniti and Toyota - that have committed to supplying engines through 2005. The League and manufacturers began dialogue in late summer of 2000 and finalized engine specifications in January. Other manufacturers will be allowed to build engines for Indy Racing competitors if proposals are submitted and approved before the April 1, 2002, deadline.

"Motorsports is all about close competition, and the Indy Racing League is committed to providing an environment that promotes close competition by keeping costs affordable and stable," said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League. "These engines specifications are just a continuation of that philosophy."

Relatively unchanged from the 2000-2002 package, Indy Racing League rules require purpose-built racing engines to be submitted by manufacturers. Engines will continue to be 3.5-liter, 32-valve dual overhead cam, normally aspirated V8s. Most of the other engine specifications also remain unchanged.

"The engines are essentially going to be the same as the versions currently being raced in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series," said Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League vice president of operations. "There will be a few minor changes that will allow for a smaller, lighter package overall, which will phase out the old 4-liter engines that have been converted to the smaller 3.5-liter displacement."

Two changes of note to the 2003 specifications include allowing a second fuel injection nozzle per cylinder and allowing camshafts to be chain or gear driven. Adding the second fuel injection nozzle per cylinder will allow for a broader midrange power band, which will facilitate the use of this engine as a dual-purpose powerplant, Barnhart said.

Oldsmobile-powered cars have won all but one of the Indy Racing League's events since normally aspirated engines were required in 1997. The General Motors Corporation will look to continue its dominance into the next generation of Indy Racing engines.

"We're delighted that the IRL has announced a rules package continuing the philosophy that led to the series' inception," said Joe Negri, GM Racing Indy Racing League program manager. "We are extremely pleased that Nissan has renewed its commitment to the IRL, and that the series has attracted a new participant in Toyota. The more manufacturers we can attract to the IRL, the better the series will become."

In June 2000, Eddie Cheever Jr. gave Infiniti its first and only Indy Racing victory when he won at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Infiniti just debuted its 35A engine package at Phoenix in March and has agreed to a long-term commitment with the Indy Racing League.

"Infiniti and our parent company, Nissan Motor Company, are proud to be one of the two founding engine suppliers to the Indy Racing League," said Steve Kight, director of marketing, Infiniti Division. "We are particularly gratified with the growth of the IRL and believe that this growth proves the soundness of Tony George's vision for oval-track racing.

"Without question, though, the true winners from today's announcement are the race fans, as the Indy Racing League further enhances its position as the premier U.S. oval-track racing series."

Since 1997, Indy Racing teams have selected either an Oldsmobile or Infiniti engine. A third choice will be available in 2003 when Toyota makes its Indy Racing debut.

"Toyota Motor Sales has stated its desire to win the Indianapolis 500 since it first began plans to enter open-wheel racing in 1993," said Jim Aust, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, vice president of motorsports. "In 2003, we will get that opportunity to win at Indianapolis as well as provide engines for Indy Racing League competition. We are thrilled to be able to compete in the greatest spectacle in motorsports at the Indianapolis 500."

With engine specifications in place, the League is working with chassis manufacturers on finalizing a 2003 chassis package. Those specifications will be released in the near future.

"This announcement confirms that the engine formula of the Indy Racing League is the formula of the future for American open-wheel racing," said Bob Reif, the Indy Racing League and Indianapolis Motor Speedway's senior vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer. "Indy Racing now has three of the best names in the auto industry competing in open-wheel, oval-track racing, and there's no reason to believe there won't be more when the first green flag drops in 2003."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Tony George , Brian Barnhart