• Jan 18th 2009 at 5:02PM
  • 11
For the past few years, the IRL has kept things simple, using just one engine supplier. Toyota, Chevrolet and Nissan (under the Infiniti moniker) bowed out of the engine game to give Honda its exclusivity in 2006. The single powerplant was supposed to make the series more of a driver's competition, and one could argue that the engine limitations did even playing field somewhat. At the same time, however, they also made the series significantly more boring.

Now with the defection of Champ Car and stubborn leadership in F1, IRL is looking to increase its relevance in open wheel racing. IRL's contract with Honda ends after 2010, and rumors indicate that the party most interested in getting a foot in the door for 2011 is the Volkswagen Group. The draw for them is the rumored return to the use of turbochargers, as well as heads-up competition between a variety of cylinder configurations. The Volkswagen group is looking to use the series to market high performance low-displacement forced induction engines that are currently under development. Since Audi gets its racing due at LeMans, perhaps any deal with the IRL will look towards increasing VW's performance stock.

[Source: Epoch Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Audi turbo diesel, yeah!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The addition of engine suppliers to the IRL will be a welcome change. The spec racing series has become dull the past couple of years because the races feature very little passing. Most of the passing has come during pit stops or due to a different fuel/pit strategy. Generally it has become a follow-the-leader affair.

      As for the costs, if I'm an IRL higher-up, I would welcome any change in favor of better competition and entertainment at the expense of some additional costs due to suppliers competing to improve their product. I'm all for it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      In what way does having two engines make a series less boring than having one?

      The point of having one spec motor was to reduce costs. I have no idea if it succeeded.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because then there is competition and more heat going on.

        Engines tend to be more strained as well so failures tend to be a bit more common just adding that extra excitement

        Yeah it'll cost more but I think they are putting a lease cap on it. So Audi/Honda/whoever else becomes involved can spend as much as they want, but they wont be able to pass that burden upon the teams.
      • 6 Years Ago
      VTEC just kicked in yo!!! Now to 11000rpm :D

      On the serious side, it's about time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's my understanding that Honda does not have an exclusive deal with the IRL. They just happen to be the only manufacturer that participates in the series. So the fact that Honda's contract expires in 2011 is irrelevant. It means that is when the IRL will change their engine rules. VW/Audi would enter the series at that time because they would have time to develop the new engine instead of entering now, using a V8 and switching in 2 years to a turbo 4. So in 2011 we could see VW, Audi, Honda, Alfa and anyone else in the series.

      I just wish that the cars were different as well.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes!! Bring back the turbo chargers! Watching the CART series in it's prime was the best ever. Multiple manufacturers, mulitiple chassis, it was great. I like the lease cap idea to control the costs though. That's something CART was missing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whoa, it is about time we get to have an air cooled flat four competing at the highest level of motorsport. Will they be running a big valve kit or just a stock 1600cc engine?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Audi has been spoken of becoming an IRL partner for several months now........

      Alfa Romeo was also wanting to join because they were planning to return to the USA but that is on hold now with this whole global recession thing.

      Saving this for a slow news day or are you really that bad?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seriously? God that's an obnoxious comment.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now if they'd only open competition for chassis suppliers.

      Dallara has milked IRL owners for years with their exclusive deal supplying cars for the series. Token gestures to reduce the cost of spares for this season aside, competition in chassis design and development would advance the IRL at least as much as competing turbo-fours, and with similar price caps as those found for the engine deals, could even reduce the cost of open-wheel racing as well.
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