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Sunday, November 14, 2010

2012 Engine Deadline Fast Approaching

Tony Cotman, the man entrusted with the development of the new car formula for the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012 and beyond, released his monthly update on engineering progress to RACER magazine.

Unfortunately, the article is not optimistic on further engine announcements for the 2012 season.

Cotman reiterated a November 16 deadline for manufacturers to confirm participation in the first season of the new formula. Right now, Honda and Chevrolet are the only two who are involved in engine development. In effect, any deal for the 2012 season would have to be confirmed over the weekend, signed, and announced with about a 48 hour turnaround.

Cotman did mention about three or four potential deals that had been in the works for a while, of which he suggested Chevrolet was not one. The Chevrolet deal only came together very recently, he said. Initially, rumors had been suggesting Ford, Cosworth, Mazda, Lotus, and Alfa Romeo as potential suppliers.

The Chevrolet deal puts the pressure on Ford to join the series, for which it has never been a factory supplier of engines. Fords have not competed in IndyCar since 1996, the first year of the Indy Racing League, when the cars were older CART models. That year, a Ford engine won its eighth Indianapolis 500, with Buddy Lazier behind the wheel. Ford did remain in CART and Champ Car until the middle of the decade, when it dropped its badging of the series' Cosworth engines.

Lotus has been mentioned as a candidate based on their relationship with KV Racing Technology, whose part-owner Kevin Kalkhoven is the owner of Cosworth. Lotus and Cosworth have had a relationship before. However, Mazda also works with Cosworth in other series, and another rumor that has taken off as of late suggests that Cosworth will partner with Alfa Romeo - or even provide the same engine to multiple teams with different badging.

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