IRL: Homestead: Chevy preview

Chevrolet opens IRL title defense with new Chevy Indy V8. HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Fresh from a dominating performance in Daytona Beach that saw Chevrolet sweep the Daytona 500, a 300-mile Busch Grand National race, two 125-mile qualifying races and...

Chevrolet opens IRL title defense with new Chevy Indy V8.

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Fresh from a dominating performance in Daytona Beach that saw Chevrolet sweep the Daytona 500, a 300-mile Busch Grand National race, two 125-mile qualifying races and the Budweiser Shootout, Chevrolet returns to Florida this weekend to begin the defense of its Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Manufacturers' Championship. Like the 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlos that swept Speedweeks in Daytona, the all-new 2003 Chevy Indy V8 racing engine was designed and developed by GM Racing, the technical arm of GM's motorsports program.

The new Chevy Indy V8 will make its competition debut in the season-opening round of the IRL IndyCar Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 2. The 2003 Chevy Indy V8 is smaller, lighter and more powerful than the championship-winning 2002 version it replaces. Since testing began on Oct. 26, 2002, Chevy's latest Indy car powerplant has logged thousands of laps at tracks in Kentucky, Texas, Arizona, California and Florida.

The 2003 Chevy Indy V8 is the second new Indy car engine produced by GM Racing in two years. It is the successor to the Chevrolet engines that won 14 out of 15 IRL events in 2002 and captured the manufacturer, driver and team championships.

"Chevy races to win in every form of motorsports in which we compete," said Steve Shannon, GM executive director - marketing services. "We recognize that the bar has been raised this season with new manufacturers entering the IRL series. Chevrolet has a proven track record that spans decades, and we know what it takes to win."

Chevrolet returned to IndyCar competition one year ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway after an eight-year hiatus from open-wheel racing. Chevy and Sam Hornish Jr. dominated the season-opening event, winning the pole and leading all 200 laps. This dominating performance duplicated the success of Chevy's previous open-wheel racing program that produced 86 victories, 80 poles and five championships in 1987-93.

The 2003 Chevy Indy V8 is 3 inches narrower, 3 inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter than the 2002 version. The 3.5-liter (214ci) engine has an aluminum cylinder case, aluminum cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder, dual overhead camshafts and sequential electronic fuel injection. It produces more than 675 horsepower and weighs 280 pounds.

"We have built a strong foundation for Chevrolet's 2003 IRL engine program," said GM Racing program manager Joe Negri. "Development of the Chevy Indy V8 is progressing rapidly. We made significant gains between the Test in the West in Fontana and the Open Test in Homestead, and we expect this trend to continue. GM Racing will focus on continuous improvement in performance and reliability throughout the season to ensure that Chevrolet teams will have a powerful and reliable engine package."

Five teams comprising six drivers are participating in the development of the 2003 Chevy Indy V8 - Panther Racing (Sam Hornish Jr., driver) Team Menard (Jaques Lazier), Hemelgarn Racing (Buddy Lazier), Red Bull Cheever Racing (Buddy Rice) and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Robbie Buhl and Sarah Fisher).

GM Racing engineers used powerful design tools to create the new engine, which went from concept to the dyno cell in just nine months.

"The 2003 Chevy Indy V8 builds on the experience GM Racing has gained with two previous IRL engines," said lead engine designer Roger Allen. "It also takes full advantage of changes in the technical regulations as the IRL series has moved from production-based engines to purpose-built racing engines. For example, the new Chevy Indy V8 has a precision gear camshaft drive instead of chains, two fuel injectors per cylinder instead of one, and removable light-alloy wet cylinder liners instead of the cast-iron dry liners that were used previously.

"In addition to this new hardware, GM Racing has also developed a new electronic engine management system with sophisticated software features," Allen added. "GM Racing's electronics specialists have tailored the system to the requirements of the new engine."

Chevrolet has won more championships in stock car racing, road racing, drag racing and off-road racing than any other manufacturer. The new Chevy Indy V8 is the heir to this rich racing heritage.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Jaques Lazier  , Buddy Rice , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing