This conversation has been going on for years with what seems to be no end in sight.
The current IndyCar series engine suppliers of Chevrolet and Honda have already committed themselves to the new 2.4 liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine that is capable of 900+ horsepower debuting in 2021. The only question is, will there be another/others joining them in their battle of manufacture supremacy? The answer, in as few words as possible, is yes. IndyCar has confirmed through multiple outlets that they have been talking to unnamed inquiring manufacturers.
Again, stirring the pot of endless speculation.
The speculation of engine suppliers has no bounds when it comes to names. Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche have all been thrown into the mix. I have a hard time believing any of them would commit themselves to an American open-wheeled series. Mercedes are still “all-in” in terms of Formula One, and they have just committed themselves to Formula E for next season.
BMW currently has ties to Andretti and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing but is that enough to sway them in the direction of IndyCar? I don’t particularly think so. With the M8 making its debut into the GTE category and their newly minted efforts into Formula E; IndyCar might have to wait.
As for Porsche, I see them sticking to the niche they are great at, and that is sports car racing. They have branched out into other series before but have never found stable success. Providing an engine could be a gamble into the unknown while finding themselves looking at a familiar past of failure.
For IndyCar to expand the paddock comfortably, they do need another manufacturer. We can not keep assuming that Chevrolet and Honda can continue to provide the multitude of engines for not only current teams but prospective teams like McLaren. I believe the magic number of manufacturers that IndyCar would like to have when the 2021 season starts is four.
I believe IndyCar will expand to only three when the green flags to start that season.
Now, I do want to say before I go into my prediction that everything I am writing is speculation. I have no sources; in fact, I’m not sure I would know a source if it smacked me in the face with a tire iron. This prediction is based solely on my observations of the racing world and the direction I see IndyCar heading.
With that in mind, the new addition to the IndyCar paddock will be Cosworth. This brand is steeped in racing tradition and has a desire to prove their worth on the racetrack. Maybe, more importantly, they’ve been competitive in IndyCar before.
Cosworth, a European company, does have its U.S. facilities in Indianapolis. Not only do they have a great location to supply their products, but they are a European company. With McLaren being a European racing team trying to break into IndyCar, I think you can see where I’m going with this. McLaren has been trying to cross their T’s and dotting their I’s when it comes to announcing their 2020 entry. I think a future partnership with a European partner would give them confidence moving forward.
For those that do not know, racing is in Cosworth’s blood. They’ve collected the second-most wins in Formula One with 176 behind only Ferrari. Cosworth provided the powertrain to one of the most iconic Formula One cars: the Lotus 49. Cosworth last saw themselves in American open-wheel until the merger in 2008.
For those wondering if Ford will be coming along with Cosworth to reunite their history together, that would be a no. Ford has been on record saying that IndyCar doesn’t provide any substantial advancement to their production cars. So if Cosworth wants to return, it will need to be a single effort by the automotive engineering company.
2021 is the perfect place to introduce a new engine manufacturer. Whether the number of manufactures is four or one, there is no doubt about IndyCar’s rate of expansion and popularity is growing. The question is, which manufacture will take the leap?
P.S. I’ll see y’all at COTA!!!!!!!