• Feb 22nd 2006 at 4:00PM
  • 6
No, really. AutoWeek is reporting that the two series' principals, Kevin Kalkhoven and Tony George, have held a number of meetings on the subject this year, and a letter of intent to merge the competing open-wheel racing series could be imminent.
The rumor includes an encouraging level of detail, including:
  • 50/50 ownership of the resulting series
  • George and Kalkhoven would be co-chairmen
  • Honda and Cosworth would both be involved
  • Bridgestone will be the tire supplier (could be either of the Bridgestone or Firestone brands)

In the realm of (even wilder) speculation, it's likely that Champ Car technical specs would dominate a merged series. The 2.65-liter turbo V8 Champ Car engine specification is basically unchanged from the days when Honda competed in the same engine formula with Ford (now Cosworth), so a level playing field would be easy to attain. Champ Car is well along in the design of a brand new chassis for the 2007 season, better suited to street and road courses and emphasizing cost-containment for race teams. Similarly, Champ Car's Formula Atlantic series has a new car from Swift, a new engine agreement with Mazda, and lots of teams, while the IRL's Pro Series is virtually dead.

A merged series would include the Indy 500, of course, and the most successful races from each series (most of which would be Champ Car's).

As AutoWeek points out, the real question is whether race fans will even care. It could well be too late to stop the decline of Indy-style racing.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Open wheel racing is in a lot of trouble and I'm wondering exactly what the article states: Too little, too late? I haven't paid much attention to either series in the last few years so its difficult to comment on attendance and quality of racing, but one thing is for sure. Introduction of control chassis, tires and engines makes for great racing... sadly.

      With all the marketing dollars being sunk into NASCAr, it will be difficult for them to bring a lot to the table. Even ALMS is still struggling in terms of dollars spent and sponsorship $$ available.

      I'll keep my fingers crossed.
      • 9 Years Ago
      A reunion would be the right way to go in general. I'm very confident, though, that the Champcars can make it on their own with the new concept they've introduced throughout the last 2 years. I love open-wheel racing, and really hope that the Champcar series survives. It would be nice to have the Indy 500 back in the series, but I'm primarily watching the series for its street races, so I don't care what happens to Tony George.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The IRL is a Joke..Tony George is an ahole,selfish,greedy.Cart is growing in popularity,if I were Cart I'd wait until Honda pulls out of the IRL,since they are the only engine supplier for them.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Cart is not in financial trouble,more people go to Cart events than the IRL.Tony George can't buy an engine ( Brand name ),Toyota , Nissan, Chevy and who ever, pulled out.Honda was going to go back to Cart but Cart Is trying to keep Team costs down.They ( Cart ) own Cossworth engines in England,Cart Is not looking for an engine package,but Honda does not see it beeing the only engine supplier for the IRL bennefiting Car sales without slagging intrest and no competition.Cossworth does not sell cars they assemble engines for Cart.
      • 9 Years Ago
      All of us Champcar fans are road/street circuit fans. But if Champcar wants to get back to the glory days they need ovals to get TV ratings and this means they need Tony George and his contracts with the oval tracks. I'll tell you what, I am getting excited to see 30 open wheel cars on a track again.

      Picture this. Honda and Cosworth turbo engines, Bridgestone tyres, New agile champcar chassis, Half ovals Half road/street, Neman/Hass Ganassi Rahal Penske Forsythe & Andretti teams all on the streets again. GLORY DAYS!!!!!!
      • 9 Years Ago
      The Indianapolis Star has an article on this with Kalkhoven saying that he and George have just been talking, and that a merger is far away. They also have skied together. I don't know what any of it means, but the series really need to end their differences, merge back together, because they both put on a better show than NASCAR. Also, both as seperate entities are well on their ways to collapsing, the Indy 500 is still the only open wheel race that matters, and even with the IRL collapse ChampCar wouldn't improve much without the 500.Plus, I wouldn't rule out the inability for Tony George or to purchase an engine supplier or arrange for one to replace Honda. The benefit of Honda is the marketing dollars.
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