2012 IndyCar project manager Tony Cotman told RACER last week that today was the deadline for new engine manufacturers to commit to building a powerplant for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series rules, and indicated that it was possible that another manufacturer would commit to joining Honda and Chevrolet in the mix by then. However, no announcements have been forthcoming and, at today's groundbreaking for the new Dallara factory near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the safety cell for the 2012 IndyCars will be built, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard sounded pessimistic about prospects for a 2012 addition.
"I think we're out of time," Bernard told the Indianapolis Star. "We've got a couple (engine manufacturers) and I want to wait to do it right rather than rush it." He added, however, that he remained hopeful of additional engines joining the fold down the road. "I think you could add another couple more for 2013," Bernard said.
In recent days, rumors in the European press have suggested that Alfa Romeo was looking to form a partnership with Cosworth Engineering for an IndyCar engine program, to coincide with the Fiat brand's planned re-introduction to the U.S. market. However, Lotus – which continues to increase its racing activities around the world – also has been linked with a prospective IndyCar engine program. Lotus has already committed to building an aero kit for the 2012 IndyCar chassis.
Cosworth, which partnered with Ford on Indy car engines in the CART era, and subsequently supplied an IRL engine to Chevrolet, indicated following the announcement of the 2012 turbocharged engine rules in August of this year that it would be interested in returning to Indy car racing under the new rules, if it could associate with a manufacturer. A Cosworth return would recreate the battle between race engine builders Cosworth and Ilmor that raged in CART in the 1980s and '90s, when Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz engines built by Ilmor fought Fords built by Cosworth. Ilmor will again partner Chevrolet starting in 2012, this time with a twin-turbo V6. Ironically, Alfa Romeo was a rival to both companies during its prior IndyCar foray in the same period, as it fielded Indy engines produced in-house for the likes of Roberto Guerrero, Al Unser (ABOVE) and Danny Sullivan.
Cosworth, which was purchased from Ford Motor Company in 2004 by KV Racing Technology principal Kevin Kalkhoven and former Champ Car team owner Gerry Forsythe, no longer has any corporate affiliation with the Ford Motor Company. It supplies F1 engines to independent teams under its own branding. However, the Kalkhoven connection is an obvious link between Cosworth and Lotus, which sponsors the KV IndyCar team.