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Old 20 Nov 2004, 18:29 (Ref:1159356)   #1
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Radical Engine Changes In IRL's Future?

Looks like TG isn't wasting anytime getting to work on his future engine program. -

-From Brian Barnhardt, the Indy Racing League’s VP of Operations, revealed the IRL is considering a switch back to production-based engines when it unveils its new technical package, scheduled to debut in 2007.

General Motors was in favor 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 IndyCar racing.

"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 already changed its current package this year, when it downgraded the engines from 3.5 to 3.0 liters to reduce climbing speeds.

The VP of Operations 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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Old 20 Nov 2004, 19:36 (Ref:1159407)   #2
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A sensible move.

ChampCar is protected against manufacturers threatening its future, now it seems IndyCar is doing the same.

Makes sense.
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Old 22 Nov 2004, 07:58 (Ref:1160497)   #3
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Should it bring back to when almost very team won at least a race per year, I'd be very happy abou it.
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Old 23 Nov 2004, 00:46 (Ref:1161390)   #4
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GP Racer should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridGP Racer should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
But how many manufacturers have a 3.0 V-8 engine that they could use?
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Old 23 Nov 2004, 18:23 (Ref:1161966)   #5
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But how many manufacturers have a 3.0 V-8 engine that they could use?
Who said it will be a 3.0 litre V8?
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Old 23 Nov 2004, 20:56 (Ref:1162111)   #6
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Ahhhhh, never really thought about that possibility Team Owner!

I guess your talking in the area of 2.5 - 3.0 ltr. 6 cylinder engines then. The V-8s are slowly disappearing in production engines, especially the foreign guys, but most manufacturers have 6 cylinder engines that I'm sure they could be made to work for the IndyCars. It could actually draw in some new manufacturers.

Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem...
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Old 23 Nov 2004, 23:48 (Ref:1162301)   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by GP Racer
Ahhhhh, never really thought about that possibility Team Owner!

I guess your talking in the area of 2.5 - 3.0 ltr. 6 cylinder engines then. The V-8s are slowly disappearing in production engines, especially the foreign guys, but most manufacturers have 6 cylinder engines that I'm sure they could be made to work for the IndyCars. It could actually draw in some new manufacturers.

Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem...
In cars that reflect performance, V-8s and larger are the present and future.

Why would Detroit waste time building six bangers that represent grocery getting cars.

Indy rules used to allow anything from 4 bangers up, any new rules had better take this into consideration or what is going on now will not go away.
Bob
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Old 23 Nov 2004, 23:52 (Ref:1162307)   #8
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Originally posted by GP Racer
Ahhhhh, never really thought about that possibility Team Owner!

I guess your talking in the area of 2.5 - 3.0 ltr. 6 cylinder engines then. The V-8s are slowly disappearing in production engines, especially the foreign guys, but most manufacturers have 6 cylinder engines that I'm sure they could be made to work for the IndyCars. It could actually draw in some new manufacturers.

Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem...
If TG wants to keep GM happy with a V-6 based formula, there would have to be an equivalency rule. The Buick-based 3.8 pushrod engine is the only thing they have that could be used. Those never lasted long with a turbo on top of them. Maybe in NA configuration they might survive 500 miles. The smaller 60-degree V-6's are also all pushrod jobs, and there are no performance parts for them that I'm aware of, either from GM or the aftermarket, and I'm not sure those engines would be up to the task anyway. Would they have to go to Saab or Opel to get suitable V-6 mills? Would they be willing to?

The only production-based formula that could include both GM and Honda and keep the techie fans happy would have to use a 4-banger.
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Old 24 Nov 2004, 01:29 (Ref:1162362)   #9
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Originally posted by Dakota Hogback
The only production-based formula that could include both GM and Honda and keep the techie fans happy would have to use a 4-banger.
I'm not sure I see 4 bangers as being the answer for the American manufacturers either. I mean, we don't exactly produce world class 4's, especially in comparison to the Japanese. They have some beautiful smooth, quiet, high-tech engines that are producing insane amounts of HP and torque for their econo-boxes no less, while we still have noisy, push-rod, 4's with no power pushing our cars around.

Maybe by 2007, Detroit will finally have a world class 4 or 6 cylinder that would be ready.

Bob, I'm not sure Gen X would agree with your assesment of performance being only V-8's, as GM had to discontinue it's baby-boomer Camaros and Firebirds due to lack of sales...
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Old 24 Nov 2004, 01:41 (Ref:1162369)   #10
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GM have a whole series of DOHC V6 60 degree engines of varying capacities

Mike

Last edited by mmciau; 24 Nov 2004 at 01:41.
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Old 24 Nov 2004, 03:02 (Ref:1162402)   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by GP Racer
Ahhhhh, never really thought about that possibility Team Owner!

I guess your talking in the area of 2.5 - 3.0 ltr. 6 cylinder engines then. The V-8s are slowly disappearing in production engines, especially the foreign guys, but most manufacturers have 6 cylinder engines that I'm sure they could be made to work for the IndyCars. It could actually draw in some new manufacturers.

Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem...
I don't know, manufacturers seem to be cramming eight cylinders into anything they can fit it in.
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Old 24 Nov 2004, 04:15 (Ref:1162429)   #12
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well i have no idea which way it would go- V6's or turbo 4's seem viable- especially as GM is really scrambling and trying to make an Ecotec motor, their 2 litre 4.
in drag trim it makes oh 1700 hp, with a turbo the size of a small bear.
so i bet if this new formula is adopted by production based engines it could make evryone happy.
but then will GM be behind the 8 ball again- or have they truly given up entirely...
of course by 2006 when evryone's contracts are up, andnot one manufacturer wants to supply, what will IRL do? call JUDD and Ilmor, and cosworth to sell non badged engines?
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Old 24 Nov 2004, 08:44 (Ref:1162536)   #13
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To me the more important issue is not the engines but the manufacturer cash and support. Autosport reported last month that 70% of all IRL teams are "financially propped up by engine manufacturers". Even if that number is not exact, it is clear that the IRL would not look the way it is now without those dollars. Nunn, Rahal and Fernandez would certainly not be around. Penske, Ganassi and Andretti would be iffy or have a reduced commitment. Therefore the car companies have control over this one, that is, if they are interesting in sticking around at all. GM is gone, Toyota is not happy no doubt and based on some recent comments from Honda and the fact that Ilmor is dumping the honda engine after next year because of mercedes ownership, you wonder if that will be the perfect time for them to exit as well.

One issue in regards to the production based engines: By the time you modify such engine and make it usable and reliable enough for 220 mph flat out racing, you could have built a proper race engine for the same amount.
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Old 24 Nov 2004, 10:48 (Ref:1162632)   #14
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Production car engines have come along way now and i can't see that being the best alternative for the IRL.

IMHO a prodution car engine will still be expensive to run and i think it will be a bad step for the IRL.

Why?

Because a modern hi tech prodution based engine might not have the durability to last a 500 mile race at over 200 mph let alone the whole weekend.

The goal for any series these days to to have long life engines that can last at least 2 race weekends. So there is no way i can see a production based engine doing that since you have to get at least double the HP out of it to make it run over 200 MPH flat out.

You also have to remember that an IRL engine needs to be small, light and have alot of stiffness incorperated into the engine since the engine block is a stressed member so you don't want to have extra tubing running around the engine which will add to both weight and drag.

So i agree with mountianstar, it will better off using a purpose built racing engine that detuned slightly to give it some durability along the line of what CART first did to cut costs.
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Old 24 Nov 2004, 17:17 (Ref:1162949)   #15
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{quote]You also have to remember that an IRL engine needs to be small, light and have alot of stiffness incorperated into the engine since the engine block is a stressed member so you don't want to have extra tubing running around the engine which will add to both weight and drag.[/quote]

A cradle would not hamper the car in any manner. It has been done for decades at Indy with no problems.
There have been too many posts, on too many forums, whining with doom and gloom about the size and weight of stock-block engines, it just isn't so.

Bob
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