LEBANON, Tenn., Saturday, July 19, 2003 - The Indy Racing League announced today that it has approved a new engine design for Chevrolet for competition in the IndyCar Series. The change was approved after IRL officials received a formal...
LEBANON, Tenn., Saturday, July 19, 2003 - The Indy Racing League announced today that it has approved a new engine design for Chevrolet for competition in the IndyCar Series. The change was approved after IRL officials received a formal request from GM Racing, the technical arm of GM's motorsports program.
The newly designed engine, which has been designated by GM Racing as the Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8, was approved under terms and conditions set forth by the Indy Racing League.
According to Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the IRL, the league has approved the use of the newly designed engine for two consecutive races, beginning with the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway on July 27 in order to test the engine under race conditions pursuant to the Indy Racing League Engine Manufacturer Agreement.
GM Racing will make the engine (including spares and spare parts) available to all full-time IRL entrants at the Belterra Casino Indy 300 on Aug. 17 at the Kentucky Speedway.
The IRL and GM Racing have agreed that Panther Racing, the current season points leader among Chevrolet teams, will test the engine in the Michigan race in the No.4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by reigning IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr.
To create as much opportunity as possible among Chevrolet teams prior to full introduction of the Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8, the next-highest placed Chevrolet team - other than Panther car No. 4 - in the season entrant point standings after Michigan will be selected to test the engine at the Emerson 250 on Aug. 10 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis.
"In making our decision, the IRL had to consider the overall effect on competition anticipated by the introduction of the new engine, including the availability of the engine to all entrants, as well as ensuring that the cost of the design change is not passed on to the teams," said Barnhart. "With that in mind, we have found the newly designed engine and castings to be in conformance with the rules."
Additionally, Barnhart has requested that GM Racing provide sufficient personnel to IRL entrants if needed to install the engines on a timely basis.
Barnhart approved this process via the Indy Racing League Engine Manufacturer Agreement that allows a manufacturer to provide updates to an engine. The agreement calls for the manufacturer to obtain the IRL's approval prior to any use and further states that the updated part be made available to all teams after a specified number of uses.
"The request by GM Racing was based on performance deficiency demonstrated during the current season and the reliability problems created by efforts to address the performance deficiency," Barnhart said. "While continuity and consistency are an important consideration for the IRL, it is equally important that the league's hallmark of competitive, side-by-side racing be available for our fans and competitors."
General Motors has been an engine supplier in the IndyCar Series since the series introduced its naturally aspirated engine formula in 1997. Representing GM, Chevy made its return to Indy-style racing in 2002.