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IndyCar announces 2012 engine plan

Indianapolis 500 start 2010The IndyCar Series' 2012 engine formula will see a return to turbocharged power, and will allow manufacturers greater freedom to choose their engine configuration.

The Indy Racing League announced the spec for its new-generation engine rules today. It has yet to reveal which of the competing chassis concepts has been chosen for the 2012 package.

"The exciting new platform, which debuts in 2012, will allow manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders as well as maximum displacement of 2.4 cubic litres," said an IRL statement.

"The ethanol-fueled engines will produce between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes and will be turbocharged to allow for flexibility in power."

IndyCar boss Randy Bernard is keen to attract multiple manufacturers to the series, which has been all-Honda powered since 2006, and believes this package is the right approach. It will mark the first time turbocharged engines have appeared in the IRL-sanctioned series since its formative races in 1996, when it used year-old Champ Car machinery.

"We feel this open and all-inclusive platform will make our sport an attractive option to engine manufacturers, while allowing development of a relevant and innovative platform to the current and future automotive industry by highlighting efficiency, performance, durability, quality, environmental responsibility and safety," said Bernard.

The championship's president of competition Brian Barnhart acknowledged that the rules would have to be carefully tailored to ensure the different engine types could compete equally.

"We will continue to evaluate rules that will keep a level playing field across the board with the various engines that could enter our sport," said Barnhart.

"For example, we could see a V-6 competing against an Inline 4 at all IZOD IndyCar Series events in the future. We will require reference engines as a benchmark in performance while looking at sonic air restrictors, fuel flow restrictions and more as key criteria for competition."

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