This Sunday brings the end of the2 011 IZOD IndyCar Series and introduces a new era for the series. The iconic “Bow-Tie” advances.
For 2012, a handful of teams will be employing a new power-plant. Chevrolet is returning to open-wheel competition with a new direct-injected, twin-turbocharged Chevrolet IndyCar V-6. Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, and Panther Racing are currently the only teams who will be utilizing the new package.
Mark Kent, Director of GM Racing, was the man of the hour saying, “In our last media briefing before the Indianapolis 500, I said that the new Chevy IndyCar V-6 would be up and running in June. I’m pleased to report that the engine fired up for the first time on June 16, and dyno testing began immediately. Since then we have focused on power development and durability testing to achieve the series’ goal of 2,000 miles between rebuilds.”
Kent continued, “We acquired a new 2012 chassis from Dallara and completed the installation of the Chevy IndyCar V-6,” Kent reported. “The car made its first laps in a shakedown run at Putnam Park near Indianapolis on September 28, and we began track testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on October 4.”
At Sunday's IZOD IndyCar Series finale, the Chevy-powered car will make its public demonstration. After the season finale, Las Vegas Motorspeedway's (LVMS) oval will serve as test-oval for Chevrolet’s new package.
“We are looking forward to giving fans at Las Vegas Motor Speedway a preview of what IndyCar racing will look and sound like in 2012,” Kent said. “The change to turbocharged V-6 engines will be dramatic.”
“We have an ambitious testing schedule through the remainder of the year,” Kent added. “The upcoming IndyCar tests will be open to all manufacturers, and we will have representatives from all of the Chevrolet teams in attendance. We plan to have a driver from every Chevy team try out the new engine and chassis package before the teams receive their new cars in mid-December.”
GM Racing is using a cooperative team strategy to accelerate development of the Chevy IndyCar V-6 engine. “The test team is made up of individuals from each of our key partner teams, and we are operating as Team Chevy,” Kent explained. “This is a concept that we have carried over from our NASCAR program, which has made Chevrolet the most successful manufacturer in NASCAR history. While the teams are competitors on the track, we know that working together to solve common issues will provide a competitive advantage for all Chevrolet teams.”
It is no small task to create an infrastructure from the ground up, and Chevy are bringing all of their racing know-how to bear for this endeavor.
“Many of the components of the Chevy IndyCar V-6 require long lead times to manufacture, and these parts are now in production,” Kent explained. “Our technical partner, Ilmor Engineering in Plymouth, Mich., has plans in place to distribute and maintain Chevrolet engines for our IndyCar teams.”
The new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected Chevy IndyCar V-6 racing engine is powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel. Direct injection and turbocharging are fundamental elements of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar engine package. Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 104 races, powering six driver champions, and scoring seven Indianapolis 500 victories.