Cosworth: An Additional Engine Supplier For Indy Cars?

Ryan Hunter-Reay

(WOMR file photo)

The Verizon IndyCar Series should know whether it will have a third engine manufacturer before it reaches the season finale on August 30.

Famed Formula 1 and Indy car engine manufacturer Cosworth has an IndyCar design ready to go, and according to its owner, the motor could be on the grid in 2015.

“Yes, we are in serious discussions with a number of companies – two in particular – and it doesn’t take a huge imagination to think about who might be bringing a new car into the U.S. for the first time in a long time,” Cosworth owner Kevin Kalkhoven told RACER, possibly alluding to Alfa Romeo. “Specifically, the project with one manufacturer is going to final recommendation sometime in the next month. That decision’s going to be binary: Yes they will, or no they won’t.”

The FIAT-owned Alfa Romeo brand competed in the CART Indy car series as recently as 1991, and by 1995, the Italian manufacturer exited North America altogether. Under FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne’s guidance, Alfa is expected to return to our shores through in 2015.

One potential stumbling block is aero kits. IndyCar will finally introduce the manufacturer-specific body kits next year, and both of the series’ current engine manufacturers are at advanced stages with their designs. For any new manufacturer to become competitive, commissioning an engine would only be half of what’s needed to be produced by 2015.

“There’s one other consideration, and that’s aero kits,” Kalkhoven continued. “Chevy and Honda have invested in aero kits for next season, so any new manufacturer who wants to be competitive not only needs an engine, but they also need a body kit. It turns out this second element is not as easy as one might think. That’s an added complication, so we’ve taken responsibility for that. If the engine does happen, there’s another binary in that we might not be able to do the body kit in time.

“I am absolutely sure Chevy and Honda would like another manufacturer in, and have been very supportive, but it has become more complex than originally thought. Cosworth knows how to design an Indy car engine; we’ve won the Indy 500 12 times. We know all the various aspects of this task. The difficulty is convincing a manufacturer it’s worth coming to Indy, that they can win, that body kits can be made…it’s not as simple as just bringing in a new manufacturer to the series.”

Kalkhoven was more enthusiastic about something coming together with a manufacturer than the last time we spoke on the topic. Depending on how far the proposal goes with the manufacturers in play, the next step would be for the series to step in and conclude a commercial deal with IndyCar.

“There are many areas that must be sorted first,” he noted. “Obviously, we’re working very hard and pushing rigorously that we can deliver price and performance. The transaction is always between the manufacturer and IndyCar, so to some extent, it’s out of our hands until all is completed.”(

There is, obviously, much work to do to get IndyCar racing back to the luster, and competitiveness, and dominance that it once was, back in the 60′, 70’s, and 80’s.  Other than the Indy 500, the rest of the IndyCar season goes without much interest to most race fans anymore!  Maybe this could be a nice shot in the arm!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.