KV Racing confirm Chevrolet deal
2 November 2011
KV Racing Technology have announced that they have signed an engine deal with Chevrolet for the 2012 season.
That makes them the fourth team to join Chevrolet's roster of teams for the new season, alongside Penske Racing, Andretti Autosport and Panther Racing.
The switch to Chevrolet after several years of Honda exclusivity in the IndyCar Series was expected, despite the team's Lotus branding for the last two years: Lotus are the third proposed engine supplier for the new season, but have so far only managed to convince Michael Shank's fledgling team to sign an engine supply deal with them for next year.
In explaining the team's switch to Chevrolet, KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser pointed out that: "I have a long personal history with Chevrolet. My first car was a 1969 Camaro, my first podium was with a Chevy engine in 1993 at Phoenix and, I am proud to say, that I am a Chevy dealer. We look forward to a very successful relationship with Chevrolet for many years to come.
“I am very excited Chevrolet is returning to IndyCar racing and that we will have the opportunity to work with them," he added.
Chevrolet has been involved in motor racing since its inception in 1911, which has seen Chevy-powered cars take 104 IndyCar race wins including seven Indy 500 victories, resulting in six series championships over the years.
Chevrolet pulled out of the IndyCar Series after the 2005 season, leaving all cars running Honda engines. But with the arrival of a new IndyCar Safety Cell chassis from Dallara and a new specification of engine being introduced in 2012, Chevrolet has been tempted back to IndyCar - with Roger Penske being a key factor in the return of General Motors to US open wheel racing.
"We are pleased to welcome KV Racing Technology to Team Chevy for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet's Vice President for Performance Vehicles and Motorsports in the United States. "The team puts a high value on advanced technology, as does Chevrolet with its IndyCar engine program that uses key technologies from our production engines."
Chevrolet have said that their 2012 IndyCar V-6 will have an aluminium block and cylinder heads, direct injection and twin turbochargers. The engine will also be a fully stressed chassis member supporting the gearbox and rear suspension
“Chevy has a proven history of innovation and success in motorsports and we look forward to continuing that legacy," said Vasser's co-owner in KVRT, Kevin Kalkhoven.
This season, KVRT has fielded three regular drivers - Tony Kanaan, Ernesto Viso and Takuma Sato - as well as collaborating with SH Racing to enter Tomas Schecker in the centennial Indianapolis 500. Tony Kanaan finished in fourth place in the Indy 500 and went on to finish a strong fifth place in the championship.
Kanaan is due to test the Chevrolet engine in the new Dallara chassis for the first time this week at the Sebring International Raceway short course. The chassis is to be named 'DW12' in honour of Dan Wheldon, who tested the new car over the summer using an interim Honda engine.
Last week, Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay became one of the first drivers to try out the new car with Chevy power at Sebring, having already run the car in some demonstration laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks previously.
"It was definitely special to do the first laps at Sebring in the new Dallara-Chevy," he said. "We're just going through checklists at this point of everything we have to do with the car and with the engine.
"The new Dallara is very nimble and very responsive - light on its feet ... You can definitely feel the new car is built for road courses and ovals, whereas the previous car was only built for ovals," he added. "The Chevy twin-turbo is a blast to drive, too. Great sounds, power, you name it."
Dario Franchitti was also at Sebring last week to test the Honda equivalent, as Ganassi Racing is the leading team signed to stay with Honda in 2012. AJ Foyt and Sam Schmidt Motorsports have also signed up with Honda for next season.