Chevrolet Begins 2012 Engine Testing
October 14, 2011 | 5:14 P.M. EST
Chevrolet will return to IndyCar competition next year with Team Penske, Andretti Autosport and Panther Racing. (IZOD IndyCar Series Photo)
As the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series is counting down to its season finale on Sunday, Chevrolet is already ramping up for the 2012 season. Chevrolet and its affiliated teams have started track testing the new direct-injected, twin-turbocharged Chevy IndyCar V-6 in preparation for Chevy's return to open-wheel competition next year. As previously announced, Chevrolet will supply Chevy IndyCar V-6 engines to Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, and Panther Racing.
Chevrolet and its technical partners have met all of the development targets for the new powerplant. "In our last media briefing before the Indianapolis 500, I said that the new Chevy IndyCar V-6 would be up and running in June," said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. "I'm pleased to report that the engine fired up for the first time on June 16, and dyno testing began immediately. Since then we have focused on power development and durability testing to achieve the series' goal of 2,000 miles between rebuilds.
"We acquired a new 2012 chassis from Dallara and completed the installation of the Chevy IndyCar V-6," Kent reported. "The car made its first laps in a shakedown run at Putnam Park near Indianapolis on September 28, and we began track testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on October 4."
The Chevrolet-powered IndyCar will make a demonstration run on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The initial oval-track test will then be conducted at LVMS in the days following the IndyCar season finale.
"We are looking forward to giving fans at Las Vegas Motor Speedway a preview of what IndyCar racing will look and sound like in 2012," Kent said. "The change to turbocharged V-6 engines will be dramatic.
"We have an ambitious testing schedule through the remainder of the year," Kent added. "The upcoming IndyCar tests will be open to all manufacturers, and we will have representatives from all of the Chevrolet teams in attendance. We plan to have a driver from every Chevy team try out the new engine and chassis package before the teams receive their new cars in mid-December."
GM Racing is using a cooperative team strategy to accelerate development of the Chevy IndyCar V-6 engine.
"The test team is made up of individuals from each of our key partner teams, and we are operating as Team Chevy," Kent explained. "This is a concept that we have carried over from our NASCAR program, which has made Chevrolet the most successful manufacturer in NASCAR history. While the teams are competitors on the track, we know that working together to solve common issues will provide a competitive advantage for all Chevrolet teams."
Chevrolet is also creating the infrastructure to support its IndyCar effort.
"Many of the components of the Chevy IndyCar V-6 require long lead times to manufacture, and these parts are now in production," Kent explained. "Our technical partner, Ilmor Engineering in Plymouth, Mich., has plans in place to distribute and maintain Chevrolet engines for our IndyCar teams."
The new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected Chevy IndyCar V-6 racing engine is powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel. Direct injection and turbocharging are fundamental elements of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar engine package, and both are key technologies in several powerful and fuel-efficient Chevrolet production cars today. Chevrolet’s best-selling model, the Cruze compact, and America’s favorite sports car, the Camaro, are two examples of key Chevrolet products powered with direct injection engine technology.
Chevrolet competed previously in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, winning 104 races, powering six driver champions, and scoring seven Indianapolis 500 victories.