Will the Chevrolet name soon return to Indy? (LAT photo)
The report over the weekend by Autoextremist.com automotive business blogger Peter De Lorenzo that Chevrolet would return to IndyCar racing as an engine supplier in 2012 remains unconfirmed – but also undenied.
"I literally know nothing about that," Chip Ganassi told the Indianapolis Star when asked about a possible Chevy return to the sport it left in 2005. However, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team owner, who DeLorenzo indicated could be a key player in the deal, suggested Autoextremist.com's prediction of an official revelation this Friday, Nov. 12, could be accurate. "I'm waiting for the announcement," Ganassi added.
General Motors officials have declined to comment on the matter, while IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, who has been lobbying GM among various auto manufacturers to supply engines for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series rules, also declined to rule in or out an imminent announcement. “It's purely speculation right now,” he told Autoweek. “We're still talking to a variety of engine manufacturers, and we've got a short time to [secure] them.”
GM's Chevy brand put its name to the Ilmor-built V8 racing engines in CART beginning in 1986, and its engines were dominant by 1988, when Rick Mears scored the Chevy Indy V8's first Indy 500 triumph. GM shifted to the Indy Racing League with its now-defunct Oldsmobile brand in 1997.
Chevy subsequently took over GM's IRL program, too, most recently with racing engines originally built by Cosworth, but GM shut down its IndyCar program after the 2005 season, at the same time that Toyota withdrew to focus its U.S. racing involvement on NASCAR. Since then, Honda has served as IndyCar's sole engine supplier, in partnership with former GM partner Ilmor. Honda has committed to building a new Indy engine for the new rules, but the Japanese manufacturer has maintained that it would welcome competition.
The new rules for 2012 specify turbocharged engines up to six cylinders with a maximum displacement of 2.4 liters. Autoextremist.com's report claims that the new Chevy engine will be a twin-turbo V6.