2003 Chevrolet Indy V8 on track

GM Racing track-tested its new Chevrolet IRL V8 for the first time on Saturday in a rain-delayed session at Kentucky Speedway. The new 3.5-litre, 675bhp engine, bench-tested for the first time in late July, is the second such unit produced in-house by GM Racing in two years, and is 3in narrower, 3in shorter and 35lb lighter than the 2002 version. Suitably modified Dallara chassis, run by Panther Racing and Team Menard, between them covered 221 laps of the 1.5-mile track

2003 Chevrolet Indy V8 on track

"The goal for this initial track test was to accumulate a significant number of miles on two engines so that we could evaluate how the new design worked with the car systems and withstood the torsional loads that the chassis imposes," said GM Racing programme manager Joe Negri. "The feedback from the teams is that the new Chevy Indy V8 already has excellent low-end power. The cars were set up with high downforce - we weren't looking for absolute speed under these wet conditions."

Chevrolet engines from three independent builders were on hand for the track test. Project engineer Dick Amacher said: "We had engines built by three of our engine partners: Menard Engine Group and Speedway Engine Development, and VDS engines as our backup. We'll inspect the engines, reassemble them using the same components, and then continue testing until we complete 500 miles. Tests in November and December at a variety of venues will simulate every kind of racing environment that we'll encounter during the IRL season. GM Racing will concentrate on developing the 2003 engine package and calibration as thoroughly as possible before delivery of the 2003 chassis."

The IRL teams will begin aerodynamic and suspension testing, utilising GM Racing resources, on delivery of their new chassis in December.

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