Thursday, April 12, 2012

INDYCAR Test Issue Prompts Chevrolet to Change Engines on All 11 Entrants

Photo Credit: General Motors

Returning to open wheel racing under brand new vehicle specifications rules in the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series, Chevrolet's rediscovery of the form of motorsport involved a most brief learning curve through the first two events.

Powering the winner in both the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg and the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the bowtie-badged twin-turbocharged, 2.2 liter powerplant has also collected the IZOD INDYCAR Series pole positions starting off both races. Entering the series on a triumphant winning note competing against the continuously-operating Honda Racing Development arm and the eager Group Lotus engine, all signs would indicate Chevrolet had the upper-hand on the 2012 open wheel racing tour. Team Chevy's IZOD INDYCAR race efforts will be dealt a surprising blow heading into the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

In April 9th testing at the Infineon Raceway for the IZOD INDYCAR Series teams, the Chevrolet-powered #27 Andretti Autosport car driven by James Hinchcliffe began suffering an engine ailment. Instantly requiring the #27 car to change engines which results in a 10-grid position penalty after qualifying at the upcoming Long Beach race for the Andretti Autosport vehicle and James Hinchcliffe in accordance to IZOD INDYCAR Series rules, Chevrolet performed a dedicated investigation into the failed engine. Taking a deeper look into the #27 car's engine, Chevrolet engineers cam to the realization that the issue occurring on Hinchcliffe's car had the potential of far-reaching affects to the whole Chevrolet camp in the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR including the juggernaut of Team Penske.

Ahead of this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, all 11 race cars powered by Chevrolet engines will have to be changed on the advice of auto manufacturer. "Through our testing in Sonoma, as indicated by an engine issue, we uncovered a problem that we believe could affect all engines. So, as a result, we feel it is prudent to change all engines prior to the start of the on-track activities this weekend." said Chevrolet Racing's IZOD IndyCar Series program manager Chris Berube. Providing no specific information on what was found in the Chevrolet powerplant powering James Hinchcliffe's Andretti Autosport car, Berube indicated, "We are still learning the limitations of the new engine controls calibration,". Chevrolet teams will still be able to compete for a qualifying victory in Saturday on the street course but will relinquish the qualifying spot ahead of the main event Sunday.

While Team Chevy IZOD INDYCAR Series competitors are understanding to the reason why the engine change needs to occur. Driver/owner of the #20 car Ed Carpenter responded, "It's obviously not ideal, but we're all playing by the same rules. It's the safest choice and, even though we're starting at a disadvantage from the get-go, it's better than potentially having an issue later on." James Hinchcliffe, the driver originally affected by the fault in the Chevrolet V-6 engine, expressed some lightheartedness in regards to the situation saying, "It's a bummer, but now at least I'm not alone."

Below, is the list of Chevrolet-powered competitors set to suffer from positions 10th place or lower starting the 2012 IZOD INDYCAR Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday.

Car # Driver Nationality Race Team

2 Ryan Briscoe Australia Team Penske
3 Helio Castroneves Brazil Team Penske
4 JR Hildebrand United States Panther Racing
5 EJ Viso Venezuela KV Racing Technology
8 Rubens Barrichello Brazil KV Racing Technology
11 Tony Kanaan Brazil KV Racing Technology
12 Will Power Australia Team Penske
20 Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing
26 Marco Andretti United States Andretti Autosport
27 James Hinchcliffe Canada Andretti Autosport
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport

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