SPEEDWAY, Ind. — The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench in many plans that Roger Penske and the NTT IndyCar Series have been making since Penske bought the series last year.
One endeavor to bring a third engine manufacturer to IndyCar has not been deterred, says IndyCar president and head of competition Jay Frye. But, while those talks continue to try and yield fruit, Frye said Wednesday the series is not in any hurry to make anything happen.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the two (manufacturers) that we have,” Frye said. “Honda and Chevy have been great partners. You saw the competition that goes on at the track every day, every week.”
But, Frye stressed that bringing in a third engine maker to the series is a big priority for the growth of the series.
Ferrari, which competes exclusively in Formula One, has expressed interest in expanding to IndyCar in some capacity, whether it be as an engine supplier or a full-fledged racing team. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said in mid-May the expansion may be necessary in order to mitigate lost revenue because of the pandemic.
Talks had been confirmed between the IndyCar and Ford as well as Mazda two years ago. Mazda already provides engines for IndyCar’s developmental series USF 2000 and Indy Pro 2000. But, that is the extent of IndyCar’s partnership with Mazda.
Ford has not competed in IndyCar since the IRL-Champ Car reunification in 2008.
“We’re having conversations with numerous manufacturers,” Frye added. “We’re optimistic … it’s still very fluid … but a lot of them like what we are doing. Lots of them like the direction we’re going.”
Frye said the acquisition of the IndyCar Series by Roger Penske has been a huge catalyst in moving talks with other engine makers forward.
LISTEN: Jaye Frye on adding a third engine manufacturer to IndyCar: