Officials have confirmed that the newly reunified IndyCar series is contemplating a move to turbocharged engines by 2011. The move could entice more automakers – aside from Honda, which is the only engine manufacturer currently participating in the series – to join on as well. In a meeting held this past June, IRL officials spoke with a dozen automakers about joining the series, and several sounded enthusiastic at the prospect of switching from the current naturally-aspirated V8s to smaller turbocharged engines. The new formula would call for either four or six cylinders and either one or two spools, producing as much as 750 horsepower instead of the current 650. Officials expect three or four manufacturers to sign on to the new formula, which could be announced as early as December to give the manufacturers enough time to develop the new engines.
Turbochargers had been common in American open-wheel racing, but after the IRL and Champ Cars split, the former switched to non-boosted V8s while the latter continued with turbos. The bulk of the formula for the reunited series, however, was based on the IRL regulations. Many of the drivers competing in the series have been pushing for the switch, and responded enthusiastically to the news.