Monday, July 02, 2012

IndyCar Team Fresh Engine Status Update (Subtitle: Yeah, That's a Thing)

From the IndyCar Media Center:

INDYCAR provided an update today regarding the status of fresh engines remaining for each team for the remainder of the IZOD IndyCar Series season.

Car — Entrant — Driver — Fresh Engine Status
No. 2 — Team Penske — Ryan Briscoe — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 3 — Team Penske — Helio Castroneves — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 4  — Panther Racing — JR Hildebrand — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 5 — KV Racing Technology — E.J. Viso — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 6/7 — Dragon Racing — Katherine Legge/Sebastien Bourdais — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 8  — KV Racing Technology — Rubens Barrichello — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 9 — Target Chip Ganassi Racing — Scott Dixon — On Engine 5
No. 10 — Target Chip Ganassi Racing — Dario Franchitti — 1 Engine Remaining 
No. 11 — KV Racing Technology w/SH  — Tony Kanaan — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 12 — Team Penske — Will Power — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 14 — A.J. Foyt Enterprises — Mike Conway — On Engine 5
No. 15 — Rahal Letterman Lanigan   — Takuma Sato — On Engine 5
No. 18 — Dale Coyne Racing — Justin Wilson — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 19  — Dale Coyne Racing — James Jakes — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 20 — Ed Carpenter Racing — Ed Carpenter — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 22 — Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing — Oriol Servia — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 26 — Andretti Autosport — Marco Andretti — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 27 — Andretti Autosport — James Hinchcliffe — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 28 — Andretti Autosport  — Ryan Hunter-Reay — 2 Engines Remaining
No. 38 — Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing — Graham Rahal — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 67 — Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing — Josef Newgarden — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 77 — Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports — Simon Pagenaud — On Engine 5
No. 78 — Lotus-HVM Racing — Simona de Silvestro — On Engine 5
No. 83 — Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing    — Charlie Kimball — 1 Engine Remaining
No. 98 — Bryan Herta Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian — Alex Tagliani — 2 Engines Remaining

Pursuant to Rule 15.1.4, Each Full-Season Entrant will be provided with no more than five fresh built Engines throughout each year covered by an engine service agreement. Using more than five fresh Engines in a season will result in a penalty. Engines beyond the fifth fresh Engine may be fresh or part-used.

Pursuant to Rule 15.6.2, Using more than five fresh Engines in a season will be considered Unapproved Engine Change-Outs.

So what does this mean?

In basketball parlance, anyone who is on engine 5 just committed their 5th foul. One more foul, and they're out. One more blown engine, and their season is done. (Sort of.)

For Scott Dixon, Mike Conway, Takuma Sato, Simon Pagenaud, and Simona de Silvestro, it means no more crashes. It means they had better have some clever engineers who can cannibalize the other four engines and come up with a new one. (Knowing what little I know about these IndyCar teams, they all do, and this doesn't mean anything more than their driver had better come across with some late-night pizza for keeping them in on the track.)

Now, the teams can come up with as many used engines as they want, and as many cannibalized engines as they want, and I would imagine that's what happens anyway. Still, it's interesting to see that IndyCar is paying such close attention to this, or that this is even a thing they monitor.

While there's a lot of on-track strategy on race day, this takes that strategy element off-track too. This is where racing is a lot like a chess match.

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