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Series mandates twin-turbos for 2014 engines

In an effort to ensure parity between its engine manufacturers, the IndyCar Series has moved to make the use of twin turbocharger systems compulsory in 2014.
The IZOD IndyCar Series announced Thursday that a change in the championship's engine rules will make twi turbochargers compulsory with effect from the start of the 2014 season.

The decision was made in consultation with IndyCar's Engine Committee, and is intended to ensure that the engines used by teams in the series are more evenly matched in future.

"In an effort for parity throughout the turbocharger range, mandating only a twin-turbo system simplifies our efforts to ensure even closer competition," said Derrick Walker, IndyCar's newly-appointed president of competition and operations.

Chevrolet has been using a twin turbo system since returning to IndyCar competition at the start of last year. Honda, which had been the exclusive engine supplier to the series from 2006 until 2011, opted for a single turbocharger system when the engine specifications changes ahead of 2012.

It was soon clear that Chevrolet enjoyed a big power advantage during the early part of the year, to the extent that the Honda camp was forced to petition to be allowed to make changes to their engines mid-season in line with an IndyCar Series rule designed to promote equality of competition. Chevrolet challenged the decision to allow Honda to fit a new compressor cover upgrade to address the issue, but lost on appeal.

Even so, the imbalance in performance between the Chevrolet and Honda engines has been apparent into 2013, with the Chevy teams displaying a clear overall speed advantage on oval tracks. The difference has been less noticeable on street and road course events, and Honda have been able to make up some of the lost ground by relying on their engines' superior fuel conservation which has allowed teams to make fewer or better-timed pit stops during races for strategic advantage.

Even so, the burden placed on turbocharger suppliers BorgWarner to ensure that neither single- nor twin-turbo camp steals a march on the other has led to the IndyCar management to take action and enforce a standardisation to address the matter once and for all moving forward.

"What it will do is make the engines more similar in how the turbos are making power," said Chris Berube, Chevrolet's program manager for its IndyCar activities. "It will be ultimately be the spirit of competition that will inspire competitors to push for more power."

Although the change will mean more work for Honda - and possibly put them on the back foot again at the start of the 2014 season, just as they recently got back to winning ways with Ganassi's three back-to-back victories with Scott Dixon at Pocono and Toronto - Derrick Walker insisted that the rule change was supported by both Honda and Chevrolet.

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