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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Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).