The plan had initially been to enact the new engine proposal for the 2011 season, but that has been scrapped to help allow teams and sponsoring manufacturers time to cope with the current economic situation. "The world is a different place than when we began this process," said Brian Barnhart, president of IRL's competition division.
But despite the delay, carmakers as varied as Fiat, Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen are beginning to express interest in building to the new formula, which places emphasis on efficiency as well as power. The IRL has already been a leader in the use of alternative fuels, so the move to small-displacement turbocharged engines is in a similar vein.
The package proposed includes a displacement limit of 2.0L. Though cylinder count hasn't yet been decided, it's expected to be either a four or six-cylinder engine, fed by a single turbocharger. To help keep costs down, engine life between rebuilds will be a mandatory 3,750mi (2,800km) and a cost-limited engine lease program will be available to teams as well.