- Oct 19, 2008
IndyCars to go Italian? IRL in talks with Alfa Romeo
IndyCar teams and fans have grown accustomed to the proliferation of Italian racing car chassis as Dallara has been supplying them for the past eleven seasons, now all but exclusively. But with Honda's engine supply contract coming to a close, series organizers have been discussing new powertrain options with a number of manufacturers. Among them is Alfa Romeo, the Italian automaker widely anticipated to make a return to the North American market in the near future.
This wouldn't be the first time Alfa Romeo has provided motivation for the largely American racing series, having participated in the late 80's and early 90's with a project adopted from Ferrari. However, despite the company's deep racing heritage, Alfa Romeo does not currently compete in any major form of motorsport since the N.Technology team stopped campaigning race-prepped 156 Super Turismos in the World Touring Car Championship. The responsibility for developing the IndyCar engines – 3.5-liter V8s under the current regulations, tipped to be replaced by turbocharged fours – would presumably fall to Fiat Powertrain Technologies, headed by Paolo Martinelli, formerly head of Scuderia Ferrari's engine program. Nothing's certain, however, since IRL organizers are also rumored to be discussing a renewal with Honda as well as with Audi, Porsche and an undisclosed fifth automaker.