Chevrolet's IndyCar engine program is on track for Chevy's return to IndyCar competition in 2012. That was the message delivered today by Mark Kent, director of GM Racing, in a media briefing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"The development of the Chevrolet IndyCar engine is on schedule, and we have reached all of our development plan milestones to date," Kent said. "The research and design teams are working diligently to achieve the objectives and meet the demanding deadlines of this ambitious program.
"The initial design of the major components has been completed, and all of the components are currently in the process of being manufactured," he said. "The first fully functional Chevrolet IndyCar engine is scheduled to fire up in June, and we plan to begin track testing the Chevy twin-turbo V6 in the third quarter of 2011."
Chevrolet announced last November that it would produce a new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 racing engine powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel to compete in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series. The new purpose-built 2.2-liter Chevy IndyCar engine is being developed jointly by GM and Ilmor Engineering.
"Chevrolet is an active participant in the development of the IndyCar engine," Kent noted. "To enhance technology transfer, Chevrolet is incorporating components and engineering resources from its production engine component supplier base on the IndyCar engine."
Kent noted that direct injection and turbocharging are key technologies in Chevrolet production cars. Direct injection introduces fuel into the combustion chamber under high pressure. As the fuel vaporizes in the cylinder, it cools the air and fuel mixture, enabling the use of a high compression ratio and improving engine performance and efficiency. Turbocharging harnesses exhaust energy to compress air into the induction system, increasing the amount of oxygen available for the combustion process and thereby enhancing power.
"Chevrolet is actively participating in the process to finalize the 2012 engine rules, and we have developed a productive working relationship with both the IndyCar Series and the other engine manufacturers," Kent said. "One of the topics under discussion is the timetable for the introduction of brand-specific aero kits. Chevrolet fully supports the aero kit concept, and we are continuing our dialogue with IndyCar Series leadership on the aero kit introduction."
Team Penske has committed to Chevrolet power 2012, and Chevrolet is currently in discussion with other IndyCar teams. Kent said the Chevrolet IndyCar engine will be available to other IndyCar entrants in accordance with the series' regulations.