ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The four manufacturers in the Verizon IndyCar Series will be on board for years to come.
Chevrolet, Honda, Dallara and Firestone announced jointly Friday that they have agreed to multiyear contract extensions to remain in the series. The Dallara and Firestone extensions were announced in January. Coupling in those from Chevrolet and Honda today ensures a continuation of the core base of INDYCAR’s four primary suppliers.
"This is a unique moment in the recent history of the Verizon IndyCar Series," said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. "To have all of our major manufacturers locked in with us for the foreseeable future points to the fact that they all have bought into the vision for the Verizon IndyCar Series. It's another sign of the positive momentum we continue to build as we grow this sport into the next decade."
Each deal is different in length and terms, none of which were unveiled at the announcement during the first day of practice for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. But if gives each a platform on which to build.
“This lens allows us to sit back and say, ‘What do we want to do from here?’ and look at it and build on it year after year after year,” said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports that makes the Firestone tires. “That’s just great as both a manufacturing company and a marketing company.”
Honda has been involved with Indy car racing since 1994, shortly after California-based Honda Performance Development began producing engines for the CART series. HPD won six consecutive CART titles from 1996 through 2001.
“We have been in open-wheel racing in its various forms for 24 years, consistent,” said Art St. Cyr, HPD’s president. “We believe in the purity of what open-wheel racing represents in North America. Our parent company, American Honda, believes in what open-wheel racing represents for our brand. We’re very honored to be working with this great group of people to continue this far into the future.”
In 2006, Honda became the sole engine manufacturer for the Verizon IndyCar Series following the departure of Chevrolet and Toyota. Chevrolet returned to the series in 2012 and has won the manufacturers’ championship every year since that return.
“We’re excited about the opportunity participating in this sport, competing head-to-head with Honda using Dallara chassis and Firestone tires,” said Mark Kent, General Motors’ racing director. “It’s a great combination. A lot of people ask why we compete in INDYCAR. There are a lot of reasons. On track, it gives us an opportunity to continue to develop the same technology that we use in a lot of our production cars.”
Italian chassis manufacturer Dallara also operates a facility in Speedway, Indiana, blocks from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s a great honor for me personally and for Dallara, too, to be sitting with the great names and representatives from Honda, GM and Firestone,” said Stefano De Ponti, director of U.S. operations for Dallara Automobili. “INDYCAR gave us this opportunity to expand an engineering company in Speedway, Indiana, and develop even more and more business. INDYCAR is a legacy for Dallara, and it has been a part of Dallara’s DNA since 1997.”
Frye, Kent and St. Cyr indicated that all the manufacturers remain committed to efforts to attract additional engine manufacturers to the series.
“We want to meet with the other OEMs on the racetrack,” St. Cyr said. “We actively have offered support for new manufacturers to come in and even want to give them a little bit of an understanding of what it takes to compete in this level of competition.”