Chevrolet would welcome Cosworth back to IndyCar

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Come on in, the more the merrier.

That appears to be the reaction from Chevrolet officials on the possibility that Cosworth may be returning to IndyCar.

Chevrolet IndyCar program manager Chris Berube told Autosport he believes Cosworth would be able to compete equally with Chevrolet and Honda, the only current engine suppliers to the IndyCar series.

“I don’t have any information one way or the other as to what Cosworth’s doing, but there’s no hiding the fact that we would welcome another manufacturer into the series,” Berube told Autosport. “The way the formula is in the series right now, I think they could be competitive.

“This is not a ‘He who spends the most money wins’ scenario. If they have the experience that their name suggests, I think the opportunity to be competitive is there.”

Cosworth CEO Hal Reisiger said earlier this year that his company is exploring both IndyCar and Formula One potential initiatives. Cosworth dominated the Indianapolis 500 from 1978 to 1996, winning 12 times, first with Al Unser in 1978 and most recently with Buddy Lazier in the CART-boycotted 1996 edition of the 500.

Although everything is still conceptual at this point, it’s likely Cosworth — if it decides to go forward — would likely have an engine program ready for the 2016 Indy 500 and then be a full IndyCar series supplier in 2017.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, who also oversees the IndyCar circuit, said the series has had discussions with Cosworth.

“I can confirm we did meet with Cosworth and it was productive,” he said. “We expect this dialogue to continue, but nothing formal has been agreed to or defined at this point.

“Unfortunately that’s all I can disclose at this moment, as the conversations are obviously still in the infancy stage.”

If IndyCar were to request and receive IndyCar approval to join the series as an engine manufacturer, it would need to align itself with an Original Engine Manufacturer (OEM), much like Chevy’s partnership with Ilmor.

The most likely prospect for Cosworth would likely be Ford, which it previously was associated with. Autosport said both sides have had preliminary discussions, as well as Cosworth talking to other OEMs.

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Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”