Report: Chris Berube reflects on tenure with Chevrolet’s IndyCar program


It was announced last week that Chris Berube, the program manager who helped spearhead Chevrolet’s return to IndyCar in 2012, would be transferred to a different part of Chevrolet’s operation.

A year after Chevrolet finished 1-2-3 in the IndyCar point standings and 1-2-3-4 in the Indianapolis 500, Berube will now work out of General Motors’ Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan where he’s been named the engineering group manager for the test engineering & systems for the Global Vehicle Dynamics Center.

Since 2012, Chevrolet has won three manufacturer’s titles in IndyCar and the last two championships, with Scott Dixon and Will Power.

Berube was part of a lengthy Q&A with

Here’s a couple of interesting items from the interview.

On Chevrolet engine changes being pre-emptive while Honda engines don’t have a history of failing.

“Reliability is an ultimate priority for us, and so knowing our product is essential. Failures on track were really not allowed! So this year’s repair after St. Pete was because we didn’t think the engine would make it for their specified mileage [2500 miles in 2015]. We had to do something about it and so we sucked up the points penalty for repairing the engines ahead of schedule. That was tough, because you really don’t want to start the season on minus points!

“I don’t want to comment on HPD policy, but yes, we know our product well, examine engines very carefully as they progress through their mileage life. We weren’t perfect, we had engines fail, but I think we’re strong at figuring out what the issue was, understanding it, engineering a fix and then implementing that fix.”

On difference between Honda and Chevy’s ability to tailor engine throttle response and torque curves to a driver’s style.

“We didn’t set ourselves a certain number of variables, but we knew what the engine would allow reliably, and allowing variations that take the engine outside the reliability range was never going to be our policy.

“What I’d say is that it’s a constant negotiation process with each driver as to what they think they’re not getting that they feel they need. Depending on circumstances, you might feel OK to take a risk but the majority of the time, we preferred to work it out with the drivers, give them something they could win with, without putting the engine into the areas of risk.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.