• Aug 25, 2008

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.

[Sources: Autosport and The Indianapolis Star, Photo by Jon Ferrey/Allsport/Getty]



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  • 12 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Same for the turbo mill in the cobalt SS/Solstice/Sky.... Think Audi/VW would give indy a go?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I doubt it, they're pretty invested in Le Mans/ALMS right now with the R10.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gee, street courses, road courses, ovals, turbos....why again was the IRL needed instead of CART? Sure accomplished a lot these last 13 years FTG

      A whole generation of fans is now lost to NASCAR. American open-wheel racing may never recover.

      • 6 Years Ago
      What they should do is give the automakers some leeway in designing and deploying their engine packages. That will boost innovation, and give them some marketing muscle as well. Frankly, spec engine and chassis has been pretty boring! Did anyone even watch the race yesterday? It put me to sleep!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Boosted Indy would be cool, it signifies the direction the USA auto market is moving anyway. Way back, F1 used to run low-displacement, straight-six engines boosted to high heaven that made close to 1,000 HP. With engine programming, variable valve timing and a little reduction in HP you could make a decent Indy engine with forced-induction that has some market applicability. Thumbs up!
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ hashiryu:

        They ran boosted V6 motors in the 80s. The MP4/4s piloted by Senna & Prost are still the most dominant F1 machines to date, winning 15 of the 16 races that season.

        @ Mike:

        Some of the old turbo'd 4 bangers made closer to 1400hp. The Brabham-BMW BT52 motors were based on high mileage 2002 blocks with the bores resized to 1.5 liters.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This would be the perfect thing if Ford joins in. Will give their ecoboost some street cred perhaps?
      • 6 Years Ago
      A 2 liter twin turbo V6 sounds nice.

      Highly oversquare, even better 100mm bore x 42. Revs & boost, even better.
      That leaves room to get 1,000hp from it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They should do whatever they need to do to get more engine mfrs onboard. With only Honda, there is no competition, and Honda can't lose by entering a textbook, no-frills, don't push the envelope engine. For there to be any innovation, they need some competition.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This would help bring some interest back to Indy. It will create some real spread in qualifying, yet create drama like the old days, because a really stressed engine probably isn't going 500 miles...