Chevrolet Technology Powers Indy 500 Champion
When the checkered flag fell on the 97th Indianapolis 500, it was Chevrolet across the finish line first, powering Tony Kanaan to the historic, hard-fought victory where he enjoyed the ceremonial shower of ice-cold milk. Drivers Carlos Muñoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti followed closely behind placing 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively – all powered by the Chevrolet V6.
This is the eighth Indianapolis 500 victory for Chevrolet, which returned to IZOD IndyCar competition in 2012 with the Chevrolet IndyCar twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V6 engine. Chevrolet had already demonstrated its strength in the 2013 IndyCar season, with Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe taking the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as the Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Brazil. Series champ Ryan Hunter-Reay, also driving for Andretti, won at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, giving Chevrolet four victories in the five races thus far in 2013.
As invigorating as race wins are, Chevrolet competes as a way to develop and prove advanced technology for its passenger vehicles, and that’s certainly the case with the IndyCar V-6. The ability to reliably extract enormous horsepower from a compact engine is possible using technology that transfers readily to Chevrolet passenger-car engines. The IndyCar engine’s twin turbochargers essentially replace cubic inches when it comes to providing extra muscle – the same way turbocharging helps 4-cylinder engines in the Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze provide power comparable to bigger engines, but maintain exemplary fuel mileage.
And the direct fuel injection used in the IndyCar engine is a feature found in multiple engines across the Chevrolet lineup, including the 1.8-liter engine offered in Cruze, the 2.0-liter engine in Malibu, and even in Corvette Stingray’s V8. The ability to reliably deliver maximum power, while using as little fuel as possible, is a recipe for success, not only on the race track but also on the street.
Not that Chevrolet’s victory should have come as a surprise. Not only was Chevrolet on the pole – Chevrolet-powered cars took the entire top 10 in qualifying, and 13 of the top 15 qualifiers had Chevrolet power. Every Chevrolet-powered car that took a qualifying run made the 33-car field.
Chevrolet even led the entire field to the green flag with the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray as the official pace car for the race, driven by Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers football team. And driving the pace car isn’t Harbaugh’s only connection to the race – he is part owner of Panther Racing, which fielded the two-car, Chevrolet-powered team of Townsend Bell and J.R. Hildebrand. It marked a record 12th time Corvette has served as the Indianapolis 500 pace car, with the tradition beginning in 1978.
Chevrolet and its teams have just one week to savor the Indianapolis 500 victory before it’s on to the IZOD IndyCar Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix May 31-June 2 near downtown Detroit, where Chevrolet will be looking for its fifth victory in six races this year. And yes, Chevrolet vehicles will be pacing the field in our hometown grand prix!