GM is well-prepared for the Indy 500 each year, making engine allocation a fairly straightforward task, Chevrolet IndyCar program manager Rob Buckner told RACER in a recent interview. What’s never easy, though, is managing all the personnel required to ensure the engines run as designed, as every single Chevrolet car gets its own GM-installed engineer.
“Since our engines are built in Michigan and only a five-hour drive away, logistically, the engine delivery to Indianapolis area is relatively painless,” Buckner told the publication.
“Our bigger challenge is staffing each entry with a Chevrolet engineer, as we have expanded from nine full time cars to 18 Indy 500 entries,” Buckner added. “To accomplish this, we have pulled people familiar with our program from all over, and we are very appreciative of their commitment to the program.”
Of course GM also has to have spare motors on hand, as some cars may encounter mechanical issues in practice or qualifying, or become damaged in a crash. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has moved onto a spare car and taken a new Ilmor-Chevrolet engine after wrecking hard in practice earlier this week. Dreyer-Reinbold’s Sage Karam has also taken a new engine already this week after his engineers found an undisclosed problem with the 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6.
Making things a bit busier for Chevy is a rule that allows teams to put a new engine in the car for race week. Once qualifying concludes on Sunday, teams are allowed to take out the old Chevrolet engine and put a new one in for the remaining practice sessions and/or for the race. Some of the Indy 500-only competitors will only have one motor for the event, though.
“The Indy 500-only entries will start with a fresh engine and typically stay on that engine throughout the event,” Buckner explained.
Qualifying for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 will kick off Saturday, May 18th before the race goes green on Sunday, May 26th.