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Cosworth Needs An OEM Partner For IndyCar; Could Ford Fit The Bill?

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British automotive engineering firm Cosworth has expressed its interest in again supplying engines for IndyCar racing in the United States, with the company’s Managing Director of Powertrains, Bruce Wood, telling Motorsport.com: “If we could find the right OEM to fund it, going back to Indy would be appealing.”

“We have a fantastic motor racing heritage and Cosworth is keen to go top-flight racing again with the right OEM partner,” Wood says. “We’re constantly in talks with people in IndyCar. You can do it very economically, compared to other categories, and you don’t need to own a team.”

Cosworth’s interest in IndyCar could provide an opportunity for Cosworth’s longtime partner and one-time owner, Ford Motor Company, to reenter America’s premier open-wheel racing series. As recently as last year, rumors had circulated that Ford was looking to join rival automakers Chevrolet and Honda as an engine supplier in the series, but those rumors were shot down by executives like then-CTO Raj Nair and then-Ford Performance Director Dave Pericak.

The reason given: Ford is only interested in racing as a testbed for technologies that could improve its road-going production cars. Sportscar racing is one thing, but with formula racing series like IndyCar and Formula One, it’s difficult to see how Ford’s participation could help inform smarter road cars.

Of course, to us, it’s equally hard to see how Ford’s participation in NASCAR is helping its road cars; those aren’t actually Ford Fusions out there on the track, you know. And as for the Ford GT racing program, the only production car it seems to have informed is the limited-run, unobtainable Ford GT itself. Whatever improvements might have been made to the automaker’s twin-turbo, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 as a result of the racing program could just as easily have resulted from the continuation of the IMSA EcoBoost/Riley Daytona Prototype – at least in theory.

Cosworth’s last foray in American open-wheel racing was during the 2007 Champ Car season, before the series was folded into IndyCar. It has a long, storied history supplying engines for Formula One, however.

Cosworth’s Managing Director of Powertrains tells Motorsport: “Over the last several months, particularly since our 2017 season ended, we have had numerous meetings with OEMs about the prospects of becoming partners with IndyCar. We’ve had around 10 of them – some initial meetings, some follow-ups.”

We’re holding out hope that Ford is one of those OEMs.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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3 Comments

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  1. Ford racing bosses, Dave Pericak and Raj Nair have refused to go into INDYCAR racing due to lack of relevance due to their “track to road” policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The NASCAR Fusion and the road going Fusion, except for the logo and the phony headlamp and tail lamp stickers, couldn’t be more different. NASCAR uses an iron block push rod normally aspirated V8 engine, a 4-speed manual transmission driving a solid rear axle. The road going Ford Fusion Sport that customers can actually purchase is powered by a twin turbo V6 engine with paddle shifters. IndyCar’s current engine formula is… You guessed it… A twin turbo V6 with paddle shifters! Which means, quite literally, IndyCar, from a mechanical and engineering point of view, has even more relevance than does NASCAR! In addition, bringing the Ford versus Chevy rivalry to IndyCar might spark interest in the series. An Historic opportunity is presenting itself here. It is time for forward to reconnect with their friends at Cosworth and return to the Brickyard.

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