Chevrolet, Honda outline technical updates, goals for 2016

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Both Chevrolet and Honda have outlined updates and goals for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

From their pre-race, and preseason releases:

The 2016 goal for Chevrolet Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series: leave St. Petersburg with another “W” to kick off the season in pursuit of a fifth consecutive Manufacturer Championship. But the competition will be strong and the field tighter than ever.

CHEVROLET AERO KIT UPDATE:

One of the primary criteria for Chevrolet’s return to IndyCar competition in 2012 was the ability to design and engineer an Aero Kit that created differentiation from the competition. The 2015 introduction of the Chevrolet-specific Areo Kit accomplished that goal with components that included front and rear wing elements, “coked” side pods with wheel wedges and rear wheel guards to deliver Chevrolet IndyCar teams the right combination of drag and downforce coupled with optimum engine performance from the reliable and successful Chevrolet 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct injected V6 engine fueled by E85.

The Aero Kit introduction with integrated Chevy V6 engine netted Team Chevy 10 Series wins, 16 poles, a fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer Championship, Scott Dixon winning the Driver Championship and Montoya taking Chevrolet to Victory Lane in the Indianapolis 500. After four seasons of competition, the number of wins for Chevrolet stands at an amazing 43 in 68 events since the start of 2012. In 2015, Chevrolet IndyCar drivers were awarded every Verizon P1 pole award.

Provisions in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar rulebook allow the manufacturers to continue to bring upgrades and enhancements. For Chevrolet, the goal remains the same – to give the Chevy teams the on-track tools needed to win races and championships. Chevrolet, in conjunction with its technical partners, has developed a strategic plan to rollout upgrades to the allowable three regulation boxes of the Chevrolet Aero Kit. For the St. Petersburg street course race, fans will see all new rear wheel guards on the Chevrolet entries.

“Per IndyCar rules, there are three ‘boxes’, or areas, of the aero kit which can be changed for the 2016 season,” said Mark Kent, Director of Motorsports Competition for Chevrolet.  “For Chevrolet, it is important that we continue to provide our teams with the correct balance of aerodynamic drag, downforce, engine performance, reliability and efficiency that has resulted in us winning the last four IndyCar Manufacturer Championships. Therefore, we plan on taking full advantage of this opportunity to further improve our aero performance and will implement staged changes to all three aero kit boxes. Chevrolet will introduce new rear bumper pods at the St. Petersburg race. We will update the other two ‘boxes’ later in the season.”

CHEVROLET INDYCAR V6 ENGINE UPDATE:

For 2016, Verizon IndyCar Series Engine Regulations continue to provide Chevrolet the opportunity to design and upgrade the Chevy IndyCar 2.2-liter V6 engine – the goal always being to provide Chevy teams and drivers improved power, reliability and fuel efficiency. The 2014 and 2015 upgrades, including the integration into the Chevy Aero Kits, remain in effect plus the opportunity for the Chevy engineers and technical partners to design and implement upgrades to ports, camshafts, fuel system and installation – including a new, lighter exhaust system and a new wastegate with improved actuator cooling and valve head design.

HONDA AERO KIT, ENGINE UPDATES:

Featuring a talented full-season lineup, updated Honda Indy V6 engine and enhanced aero kit bodywork, Honda opens the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend, seeking its seventh competitive manufacturers’ championship and 11th Indianapolis 500 victory.

The manufacturer and its Honda Performance Development racing arm will present an impressive lineup at Sunday’s season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, including 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, five additional Indy car race winners and a trio of promising rookie talents.

All will utilize the twin-turbocharged Honda Indy V6 engine, which is designed, manufactured, developed and maintained by HPD. Designated the HI16RTT, the engine is designed to meet the Verizon IndyCar Series’ technical regulations for 2016. The updated engine is mated to a Dallara DW-12 chassis that also features updated aero kit bodywork for all 12 Honda entries in St. Petersburg.

“We’ve been encouraged by the performance of the Honda Indy V6 and the other improvements we’ve made during the off-season,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “We believe we have a great lineup of teams and drivers, including a good balance of proven race winners and promising new stars. We’re looking forward to the start of the 2016 season on the streets of St. Petersburg, and taking on the challenge presented by our competition in the battle for the Manufacturers’ Championship, and for victory in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.”

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

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Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.