Volkswagen revs interest in IRL

January 20, 2009
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VWHonda vs. Volkswagen. Now that has a ring to it. And it is looking like that could be the headline act in the 2011 Indy Racing League.

Ulrich Baretzky, Audi Sport’s head of engine technology, told Racecar Engineering magazine recently that his company is interested in taking on Honda in the IRL, when the open-wheel series comes out with new engine specifications for 2011. While Baretzky said it isn’t clear whether the Audi or VW brand would enter the series as an engine supplier, sources close to the on-going talks said it is most likely to be VW. Talks began between Audi and the IRL in June, and have heated up recently. Sources within the league said an announcement could come as soon as April, shortly before the season begins.

Sources with several IRL teams said it appears that series officials will go with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine, despite Honda’s desire for V-6 engines. Honda is so eager to have another engine builder to compete against, series sources said they are willing to bend a bit on their desires. The IRL is expected to announce the new engine formula in the next 60 days.

Part of the negotiations likely include marketing mandates forwarded by the league that will require VW to inject millions of dollars into the series. Audi officials, sources said, are busy talking to teams to see which ones they might line up as customers.  VW's best known product, the Beetle, isn't exactly a picture of performance. Racing insiders said the German company will have to overcome that perception to lure teams away from the well-established Honda stable. A few financial incentives thrown at teams will surely help.
  • Competition builds interest. I am amazed at the loyalty of Nascar and F1 fans to engine manufacturers/autos.
  • People have trouble linking VW with performance? And how hard was it for people to see the Honda as performance? Civic, Prius, Accord? They don't scream performance. Of course how much performance is there in a 4-door Taurus? It has been a long time since the car racing represents any real product on a dealer floor.

    I still think the IRL needs to look at using fuel economy as a way to stay relevant with the auto industry. Developing fuel efficient race cars is the next technological hurdle. No different than Tesla developing a high performance electric car.
  • Well, VW is no Ferrari. And it aint American either.
  • Competition builds interest

    Oh yeah? Why was there zero interest when Nissan/Infiniti and GM were there? Or when Honda, Toyota and Chevy were there?

    Same reason there's zero interest now, and it won't change in the future. FTG's 'league' is a steaming pile. No gomer cheerleading and bleating is going to undo that. It's a farce. Rubbish. A failure.

    Aside from that, whoever is in favor of this at Porsche/VW should be fired immediately. What idiots. :lol:
  • HElls BElles, bring it on. ITll be on liek DOnky DOng DANg there aint nothing liek partnering with the RIl to cement a companies future. JUSt look a what the IRl has done for companies over the years. ITs hard to amagione what this will do. LOok waht its doned so far. THe IRls got new VIsions everyear. MAn oh man. A JAp engine and a GERman engine runnin in the MEmorail DAy classic. IF that dont bring a tear to your eyes I dont know waht will.
  • Why does it have to be an American engine? There is as much history of foreign engines in the 500 as there is of American engines.

    With their recent troubles, I wouldn't be surprised if Chrisler of GM cut their stock car programs back drastically.
  • Some of the poster's minds don't bode well for their crass comments. Memory is aslways the first to go. To posture that there was zero interest when Infiniti or Chevy was in the league goes along with that loss of memory and loss of sense.

    The future is built on what is happening now and what progress is made in a cooperative spirit. Fortunately, some of that spirit has been restored to open wheel racing. Those of us sitting on the sidelines can only hope that good things will occur in the future. We are the ones who choose not to constantly dwell upon past failures. Those things we cannot change. Positive attuitudes can bring success!
  • I don't think it's fair to say there's no interest in the series. Audi/VW is interested, anyway. That says something.
  • Rumor is that BMW is still considering as well. Something tells me if VW is involved we may see another German name make its way over.

    I would hazzard to say there has been as many foreign engine participation at Indy as American. In the last 40 years there has been something like 18 American engines and 22 foreign winners. And at this time in history, if American Racing were counting wholly on the big three, I think we would all be in trouble.
  • If Chevy, Infiniti, Toyota and Oldsmobile were doing so well with the IRL, why did they leave? :lol:
  • Because their engines made the wagons crappier than Honda!?
  • Same reason you will see at least one if not two manufacturers leave NASCAR. Limited dollars to spread around change in marketing etc... Probably same reasons that many automakers have come in and out of Indy. Mercedes, Buick, Ford, etc....

    Why did car makers such as Dodge, Pontiac, Buick, Plymouth etc... leave NASCAR. You guys are funny. No matter the news, you will go to desperate ends to find something to complain about. Why so much hate, it is not healthy. Take up a hobby, find something to do with your time. Something constructive. Hate like you guys have is not healthy.
  • Toyota has a love 'em and leave 'em mentality. They've done this before and will likely do so again. Infiniti left because they weren't competetive and no one wanted to use their equipment. Seems like Cheever was the last hold out from what I recall. Chevy and Olds. Same company, and GM has been in and out of open wheeel many times.
  • Thanks berwick guy! :lol: I enjoyed the primer on Yoda and their racing philospohy. Hows that hold up in F1?
  • Hooey:

    We can't, afterall, mess with the Holy Grail of motorsports, Bernie's F1, now can we? They need to have Burma Shave signs around the road courses to make them interesting.

    The Mother Jedi Knight, Yoda, liked CART, left CART, then liked TonyCar, and left. Who knows what might happen to the Yoda Taxi?
  • BMW is rumored... yeah every year about this time on Turdforum and in the minds of TG lackeys. And if you are referring to Porsche, they have already indicated they have ZERO interest. Nice try.
  • word in the paddock,,,,heard behind closed doors,,,,those in the know say,,,,,

    LOL x 1000000000000000000000000000
  • VW was rumored as well and it looks like they are on their way in. Rumors do come true. As competitive as the germans are, if VW finds success in IRL, expect to see at least one other put their name on a car. They cannot stand to see one of their fellow companies get their name on winning cars without trying their own hand at it. Penske has been talking to Mercedes again.
  • Here ya go DH,
  • I wonder if the Beetle would be competitive on the NASCAR circuit. I heard they've been doing wind tunnel testing.
  • sfjff - they say that crap every year. rhetoric.

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