Today, Chevrolet and Honda constitute the only two engine manufacturers in America’s IndyCar open-wheel racing series. But with English automotive engineering firm Cosworth publicly expressing their interest, and FCA boss Sergio Marchionne saying Alfa Romeo is “thinking about IndyCar,” it mightn’t be too long before a third – maybe even a fourth – engine manufacturer tosses its hat into the ring.
So, to keep things “fair for everybody,” Chevrolet and Honda have been working with IndyCar to develop a new engine formula to be introduced for 2020 or 2021. GM Director of Racing Mark Kent says that the goal of the new formula is to ensure that if a third manufacturer does join, it can’t mooch off of the six years of R&D conducted by Honda Performance Development, or by Ilmor on Chevrolet’s behalf.
“We didn’t want to allow a new manufacturer to take what we’ve learned for six years now and catapult past us by watching what we’ve done,” Mark Kent says. “So we’ve created a new formula with IndyCar that will come out here in the future, with or without a new manufacturer. It will be one that will get us back on a level starting point so it will be a fair competition when we all hit the track.”
IndyCar is reportedly targeting a 100- to 150-horsepower bump with its next-gen engines, which could mean the addition of two more cylinders, hybrid electric technology, or none of the above.