Panel allows Honda to make IndyCar engine changes

Published April 27, 2012

| Associated Press

Honda will be allowed to make changes to the turbochargers on its IndyCar engines after a three-person panel denied an appeal by Chevrolet.

The panel decided at a hearing in Indianapolis on Thursday that Honda can change the compressor cover on its single turbocharger, a move that Chevrolet and its teams were against. The changes should allow Honda to improve the performance of its engines.

IndyCar recently allowed Honda to make the changes but Chevrolet decided to protest, saying the modification would go against some of the series' rules. It can still appeal the panel's decision.

"We respect the diligence of the panel appointed to hear the protest and examine the situation," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet's U.S. vice president for performance vehicles and motorsports. "While we are disappointed with today's decision, we are prepared to continue to compete at the highest level in the IZOD IndyCar Series."

Chevrolet said it believed the modification wanted by Honda "was contrary to the series rules and asked IndyCar to thoroughly review the issue so that the rules were applied fairly."

Honda had been saying that the changes had been agreed a long time ago in an effort to maintain parity among teams in the series.

Honda wanted to make the changes before the Long Beach race two weeks ago but was not allowed because of the Chevrolet protest. It will be allowed to try to make the changes for the Sao Paulo 300 on Sunday.

The change in the compressor cover on its single turbochargers could help Honda decrease the engine's disadvantage in performance compared to the twin turbo engines currently used by Chevy and Lotus.

IndyCar has multiple engine manufacturers this season for the first time in seven years. Chevrolet has won all three poles and all three races in its return to the series, all with Team Penske. Helio Castroneves won the season-opener in St. Petersburg and Will Power was first in Alabama and Long Beach.

Honda has a pair of second-place finishes so far, in St. Petersburg and Alabama, both with Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon.

The next race is Sunday on the streets of Sao Paulo, where Power is a two-time defending champion.

The panel that made the decision in a lengthy hearing Thursday included Hans Peter Kollmeier, Jack Snyder and Jim Voyles. Each team was able to select a member and the third was picked by IndyCar as the engine manufacturers failed to agree on a name themselves.

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