Delaying 2021 engine plans for third supplier 'possible' - Jay Frye
Plans to introduce a new engine format to the NTT IndyCar series in 2021 could be delayed to allow a third engine manufacturer to join according to IndyCar President Jay Frye.
The current 2.2-litre twin-turbo format is set to be dropped in favour of a 2.4-litre engine which is set to produce over 900 horsepower. Chevrolet and Honda have already committed to their future in IndyCar, but both are keen to allow a third manufacturer to join the fray. Both current suppliers are set to test the new units midway through 2020.
Any new supplier must commit to IndyCar within the next three months, but Frye along with Chevrolet and Honda are prepared to delay the deadline for a further year to allow more time for a third OEM to join the series.
"Right now everything is full speed ahead," said Frye. "But again, it depends on the timing of all this stuff. The 2.4 we're confident in everything we've got organized with that.
"Again, that was with the partnership of Chevrolet and Honda to come up with that platform, so it's -- right now it's '21 through '26. It can move either way I guess at this point still. Part of that will be the next OEM partner, what their input would be or how they would want to go about it.
"Obviously, Chevrolet and Honda are very keen to have another one come in, so if another one came in and it was a delay or some sort of different situation, anything like that could be possible."
With IndyCar's growth increasing and the burden of Honda and Chevrolet having to produce, service and supply more cars, both companies are happy to delay the new regulation set if it means a third manufacturer can come in and alleviate the workload.
When asked about the arrival of a third engine supplier coming to IndyCar, Frye added: "It's something that there's a lot of enthusiasm, we talk to lots to them every day.
"A lot of what's going on with it is timing, right, because it's a huge commitment. They have to build engines. The ones that we're currently talking to want to build their own engines, so that's a key indicator when you talk to somebody about their commitment.
" It's just really a timing thing at this point. So we're sorting through that. One of the things -- we've got two great partners right now with Honda and Chevrolet and we're very fortunate for that and very proud of that.
"Part of what's going on is you talk about the five-year plan and the fields are getting bigger and the teams are coming in, at some point it's not going to become a luxury, it's going to become a necessity as we grow.
"We're not quite to that point yet, but we're getting close, so we're looking forward to who's next."