Report: No Ford anytime soon for IndyCar

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While Cosworth has been ramping up its involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series, both in terms of wanting to partner with an existing OEM and adding a technology asset to its current program in the form of “Cosworth on Air,” it doesn’t appear it will be partnering with its old friend – Ford – for an engine down the road.

That’s the thought, at least, from Ford Motor Company Board of Directors member Edsel Ford II, in comments made at a private event, discovered by the More Front Wing website.

“No, no, no,” Ford said, via MFW. “I’ll be six feet under. No way. Not a chance.”

He added, “I’ve talked to Jamie (Allison, Director of Ford Racing) a lot about it. He, Raj (Nair, Group VP of Global Product Development), I don’t think any of us really want to go to IndyCar racing.”

Ford’s involvement in other forms of motorsports include NASCAR, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with its Roush Yates-prepped EcoBoost 3.5L V6 turbocharged engine, and also the Red Bull Global Rallycross series.

Ford, and Allison, have said repeatedly to industry insiders that it wants to focus on production-based engines. The current IndyCar engine regulations do not allow for that; the regulations require a bespoke engine just for the series, in the 2.2L V6 turbocharged formula which Chevrolet and Honda, and the Judd-built Lotus in 2012, have developed engines for.

Cosworth, meanwhile, will need to seek another OEM if it wants to get back in the game.

Ford last raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1996, the first in the Indy Racing League era and still under USAC sanction, with a 1995 Reynard chassis and a turbocharged Ford-Cosworth XB engine powering Buddy Lazier’s No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing entry to victory. Ford-Cosworth powered several others in that year’s field, before the 1997 season saw a change in engine regulations to normally aspirated power plants.

The Ford-Cosworth relationship maintained through 2007 through various open-wheel iterations of what was CART, then later morphed into Champ Car, before the series ran its final race at Long Beach in 2008.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”