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INDYCAR Turbo Decision Upheld, Honda Prevails


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Retired Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore R. Boehm heard all sides of the INDYCAR Turbo-Gate story on Wednesday, listening to an appeal of a decision handed down by a three-part panel that denied General Motors' Chevrolet brand's objection to Honda Performance Development's use of a Borg Warner 0.71 A/R compressor cover for their engine, which uses a single turbocharger. Both Chevrolet and Lotus engines engaged in the IZOD IndyCar Series use twin Borg Warner turbochargers.

The jurist took nearly two days to release his decision, which denied the appeal brought forth by General Motors. He conducted the appeal hearing on May 9 in Indianapolis; pursuant to Rule 13.11 in the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, the appeal decision is final and binding.

Shortly after Justice Boehm's decision was announced mid-afternoon on Friday, May 11, HPD vice president Steve Eriksen had this to say: "We are pleased that Justice Boehm's ruling has again confirmed INDYCAR's initial step to address parity of the Series-mandated single and twin turbochargers. This has been INDYCAR's intention ever since the matter first came under discussion in late 2010. We eagerly look forward to continuing our battle with Chevrolet and Lotus as practice sessions for the Indianapolis 500, 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing', begin this weekend."

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet's U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports rebounded with this comment: “Despite the ruling from the appeal hearing, GM’s position on this has not changed. Yes, we are disappointed with the decision.  All we’ve asked from the beginning is that the existing rules and engine regulations be applied fairly.  Nonetheless, we remain committed to competing at the highest level in the IndyCar Series.”

Justice Boehm retired from the Court in September of 2010. He brings substantial and unique experience to bear on matters through mediation, arbitration and private judge services with the Van Winkle-Baten Dispute Resolution Group. In his role as Appeal Official, and pursuant to Rule 13.4, INDYCAR president of operations and strategy Brian Barnhart selected Boehm to hear this dispute.

Although Honda has won the appeal, it still hasn't managed to win a race yet in the four road/street course events contested thus far in the 2012 season. The Chevrolet engine, designed and built by Ilmor Ltd in the United Kingdom and maintained by Ilmor Inc in Plymouth, Michigan, has shown superior speed - even in Brazil where the new Honda A/R compressor cover was used - and far better fuel mileage, both essential in competition. It remains to be seen if Honda's use of a single turbocharger will be advantageous at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to take place on May 27.

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