Chevrolet Returning To IndyCar

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General Motors announced Friday that the company would return to the IZOD IndyCar Series under its Chevrolet banner during the 2012 season. (IndyCar Photo)
General Motors announced Friday that the company would return to the IZOD IndyCar Series under its Chevrolet banner during the 2012 season. (IndyCar Photo)

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Chevrolet is returning to the IZOD IndyCar Series and will team up with the most successful team in the history of the sport — Team Penske.

That means legitimate engine manufacturer competition will return to the sport for the first time since Chevrolet left IndyCar at the end of the 2005 season. Chevrolet will build a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 racing engine powered by renewable E85 ethanol fuel for the 2012 season joining Honda in the series.

“Chevrolet is the winningest name in racing,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “We won 104 races, six drivers champion and seven Indianapolis 500s. Chevrolet will return to the Indianapolis 500 and to IndyCar racing. Why are we returning to IndyCar? For several reasons — we are passionate about the technology. Second, the series is growing and the interest is increasing. The sponsorship has doubled in more than one year.

“But the most important reason is we are competitors. We are returning to IndyCar to win. This is a natural fit for Chevrolet. We are all proud to be back. “

Chevrolet will partner with Ilmor and use the technology in production engines. The company is looking to expand the technology into its production engines.

“Our partnership will Ilmor will help us build performance by using the least amount of fuel and with E85 Ethanol,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, Global Product Operations. “Our goal is to win on the track, advanced technology and the marketplace. That is why we are proud to partner with Ilmor Engineering.”

Penske has a long history with the Chevrolet brand and is the first IZOD IndyCar Series team owner to commit to the new engine, which will be built by Ilmor — the engine company that he owns.

“The demographics are different now in IndyCar racing,” Penske said. “In Ilmor, we are in the racing business. We are competing head to head with other manufacturers and with Ilmor we will see the game move up and have increased competition, which means more customers and more fans. We need to fill these grandstands. We have to keep our costs down and get our racing up. This announcement will do that. It’s a great opportunity for us.

“Hopefully, this is going to open some eyes and bring some more engine manufacturers in.”