Five companies still in engine talks
|By Matt Beer||Tuesday, February 3rd 2009, 17:14 GMT|
The Indy Racing League has announced that Honda, Porsche, Volkswagen, Fiat and Audi are still involved in discussions over the IndyCar Series' future engine regulations.
The five companies were among a group of nine car manufacturers who participated in initial talks about the new technical package the championship plans to introduce in 2011.
Although none of the quintet has yet made a firm, official commitment to building IndyCar engines, the IRL said that all five would continue with the Manufacturers' Roundtable meetings that began in May last year.
The group has so far agreed that the next generation of IndyCar engines will likely be two-litre turbocharged units designed to use environmentally-friendly fuels.
To ensure budgets are kept under control, strict caps will be placed on the cost of engine leases, engines must last 3,750 miles between rebuilds, and designs will be homologated for five years. The IRL also hopes to align its rules with other championships' so that the engines can be up or downrated for use elsewhere.
IRL commercial boss Terry Angstadt said the series was delighted with the progress made so far.
"This process was designed to showcase the league's position as an innovator and bring relevance to the forefront for the manufacturers," he said.
"What we have found in the ensuing months during the economic downturn is that the IndyCar Series has really hit on the relevance point with the manufacturers and quite possibly helped the motorsports industry usher in a new era of responsible cost containment,performance standard and engine development."
Paolo Martinelli, the vice president of Fiat Powertrain Technologies, praised the IRL's approach to enticing new manufacturers.
"IndyCar has done an extremely thorough job at examining all the future technical considerations that automotive brands are faced with," he said.
"Working in concert with my peers to help define the next generation of IndyCars has been an enlightening and productive process that will likely have positive connections to other global motorsports."
Honda have powered the entire IndyCar field since Chevrolet and Toyota pulled out at the end of 2005. Dallara will remain the sole chassis supplier under the new rules package, with Firestone retaining its tyre monopoly.