Chevrolet Racing IndyCar Series program manager Chris Berube says that achieving performance increases in the 2.2-liter, twin turbocharged V6 engine while simultaneously increasing engine life by 25 percent "is the holy grail" of engineering development.
He's encouraged by information derived from a manufacturer test Jan. 17 at Sebring International Raceway. Ten drivers participated in the session in preparation for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 30.
Homologation of the engine, whose change-out threshold has increased from 2,000 to 2,500 miles for 2014, is Jan. 30.
“The IndyCar engine homologation table allowed a fairly significant amount of change to the engine for 2014, including new turbochargers and fuel system revisions," Berube said. "Work on all of that started last year and this first track test is an exciting yet anxious time for the engineers that toiled over and tortured the new bits to push the performance level up while maintaining the competitive advantage in reliability Chevrolet has had in 2012 and 2013."
Chevrolet has won the manufacturer title the past two seasons.
“When the first test of the season goes off like this one did, it is encouraging and rewarding, but there is a lot of data to analyze to go from good to great in the integration phase and our teams and technical partners are focused on that," Berube added. "These preseason manufacturer tests are our engineers' opportunity to see the fruits of their labor and receive direct feedback from our customers -- the race teams and drivers. It is also the next phase of development where the new engine is integrated with the race car and the driver's feedback plus reams of data are collected and utilized to hone the drivability characteristic of the final race car package.”
Chevrolet has two manufacturer test days scheduled for February, and an Open Test (a dress rehearsal of sorts) is scheduled for mid-March at Barber Motorsports Park.
"We had lots of different things to get through obviously and different sort of projects for each car," said reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, who drove the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. "Really excited to see that it runs, it just runs. Kind of not what we are used to when you get a new engine. Went through a lot of changes on mapping and different engine stuff and made some really good progress I think for things to look at and things to improve on in the future."