Engine rule changes pondered

The IRL is considering a switch back to production-based engines as part of its technical package for 2007, according to reports in the US press

Engine rule changes pondered

General Motors recently announced its withdrawal from the IndyCar Series at the end of 2005, and with only Toyota and Honda left as engine suppliers, the series may be looking to make the regulations easier, and cheaper, for manufacturers to build motors for it.

Brian Barnhardt, the Indy Racing League's VP of Operations, revealed the IRL is considering the rule changes as part of reforms planned for 2007.

General Motors was in favour of the switch, and claimed the discontinuation of the production formula - used by the league between 1997 and 1999 - was the main reason for the escalating costs which eventually prompted the withdrawal of its Chevrolet brand from the category.

"We'll make our decision based on input from our current manufacturers as well as potential ones," Barnhart told the Indianapolis Star. One of the "potential" ones may be GM itself, which could be lured back into the series in case an engine formula of its liking is chosen by Barnhardt & Co.

Amidst Barnhart's major concerns in the shaping of his decision is the cost of making yet another switch - the IRL has already changed its current package this year, when it downgraded engine sizes from 3.5 to three litres as part of a speed reduction package in the wake of a string of serious accidents.

Barnhardt has promised to make a final announcement by May next year, allowing a minimum of 18 months for the manufacturers to build their new power plants for the start of the '07 season.

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