Honda, Chevrolet Ink Extensions With IndyCar

Honda and Chevrolet have both inked multi-year contract extensions to remain as engine suppliers for the Verizon IndyCar Series. (IndyCar Photo)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – On Friday at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IndyCar officials announced that Chevrolet and Honda have signed contract extensions to supply engines for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The announcement follows those earlier this year that chassis maker Dallara and tire supplier Firestone, who have also signed multi-year extensions, meaning all four major brands have committed to the sport.

Terms of the contract extensions were not announced other than IndyCar President Jay Frye calling them “multi-year agreements.”

This announcement positions the Verizon IndyCar Series a more solid foundation moving forward and allows IndyCar to focus its search on an additional engine manufacturer.

“This is the foundation of our five-year plan we talked about,” Frye said. “It is, in our opinion, unprecedented.

“We as a group, along with our paddock, have come up with a five-year plan. Part of that plan was the freezing of the aero kits and in the next three years having a universal kit. We can’t thank our partners enough.”

Chevrolet and Honda both have encouraged an additional engine manufacturer to help split the field into third rather than divide the paddock in half for budgetary reason as well as completion.

“I want to thank IndyCar and everybody else up here to join in the celebration, I guess we could say, of talking about where open-wheel racing is going in North America,” said Honda Performance Development CEO Art St. Cyr. “We talked about the same DNA – racing is in our DNA. We can actually say the same thing as Honda. If you think back to the founder, Soichiro Honda himself, he started a car company mainly so he could race. It’s very important to Honda to race everywhere.

“HPD was started in 1993 mainly to support open-wheel racing in North America. We have been in open-wheel racing in its various forms for 24 years consistently. We do that because we believe in the purity of what open-wheel racing represents in North America.

“Our parent company, American Honda, believes in what open-wheel racing represents for our brand. We’re very honored to be working with this great group of people to continue this far into the future.

“This is something that you can almost expect from us because we’re always in this. To have the stability we have right now is something we’ve never enjoyed before. I want to thank everyone for that. We’re proud to be here.”

Mark Kent is the director of Motorsports Competition, Chevrolet and Cadillac and gave high praise to IndyCar’s decision to solidify its manufacturer lineup into the future.

“We’ve talked a lot about DNA and nobody’s DNA goes deeper than Chevrolet’s,” Kent said. “There’s actually a bust of our founder, Louis Chevrolet, in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Over 100 years ago, Louis Chevrolet, along with his brother, used the speedway as their proving ground. Racing has always been a part of Chevrolet’s DNA. We’re excited about the opportunity to continue participating in this sport, competing head-to-head with Honda, using Firestone tires, Dallara as a chassis. It’s a great combination. I couldn’t be sitting with a better group of people.

“A lot of people do ask why we compete in IndyCar. There are a lot of reasons. On track it gives us the ability to continue to develop technologies that we use in a lot of our production cars. Talk about small displacement, turbo charging, direct injection, all great stuff we do in our production car. This arena gives us an opportunity to build better street cars from what we learn on the racetrack.

“It always gives us a great opportunity at the racetrack to display a lot of our products and get our products in front of current and prospective customers to let them see what great cars Chevrolet truly makes and hopefully get them to put Chevrolet on their shopping list.

“Finally, just the opportunity to run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great value for us to compete in the sport.

“Like everybody else, we’re very proud, very glad to be here and welcome the opportunity.”

Dallara is celebrating its 20th year of involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The company’s first chassis came in the 1997 Indy Racing League when it was competing against G Force. Since that time, Dallara has formed a long and successful relationship with IndyCar and looks forward to the future.

“Dallara basically is a small company that moved to the United States 20 years ago, thanks to IndyCar,” said Stefano Di Ponti, CEO and GM of Dallara’s United States Operations. “Thanks to IndyCar basically we expanded our business, not only in the racing world, but IndyCar gave us the chance to establish an engineering company in Speedway, Indiana, and develop even more business.

“The importance to have this partnership and extension with IndyCar is basically an unlimited value for us. IndyCar is a legacy for Dallara, and it is in Dallara’s DNA basically since 1997, when we started.

“Together we accomplished a lot of tasks, a lot of goals. We obviously are fully committed. We are fully committed and it is our duty to do our best, to work with IndyCar, and with our partners, to promote the series, to enhance the races, and to make sure that our fans, which they are generating interest all over the world, not only U.S., but also in Europe, in particular in Italy. We have more followers of IndyCar for the spectacular races that we are putting together.

“In conclusion, for us, is a great achievement. I really personally am grateful for what we were able to achieve with IndyCar for the extension.”