Borg Warner turbochargers used in the IZOD IndyCar Series - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
The decision didn't come down until nearly 9 pm Eastern time tonight in Chevrolet's protest of Borg Warner's different A/R compressor cover for the EFR9180 single turbocharger used in the IZOD IndyCar Series by Honda for its 2.2-liter V-6 indirect/direct injection engine.
There were many - at least eight - hours of discussion and deliberation by a three-man panel, the trio elected to uphold INDYCAR's decision to allow the 0.74 A/R compressor cover for HPD's engine--replacing the original 0.57 A/R compressor cover that Borg Warner placed on the turbocharger in its initial configuration.
The panel consisting of former Mercedes-Benz engineer Hanns Peter Kollmeier who flew in from Germany for the hearing as Chevrolet's choice, Honda's choice of prominent Indianapolis attorney Jim Voyles, and Jack Snyder, the former Indianapolis attorney and a long-serving Indianapolis Motor Speedway board of directors member.
Snyder was the third panel member selected when neither Honda nor Chevrolet could agree on whom to choose. Beaux Barfield, who serves as Race Director for the IndyCar Series, presided over the panel.
Honda insisted the engine manufacturers had decided in December 2010 to allow changes. Borg Warner developed the new part extensively and didn't have it ready for competition use until the third race of the season at Long Beach, California.
Both Snyder and Voyles are well versed in IndyCar Series competition and politics. Kollmeier, though his Mercedes-Benz association, has knowledge of the workings of Ilmor Ltd in the UK, who designed and built the Chevrolet engine that has won all three pole positions and all three races so far this year.
“Chevrolet filed a protest as permitted by the INDYCAR rules to an April 18th decision by IndyCar to allow a modification to the turbocharger used by another engine manufacturer," said Jim Campbell, US vice president performance vehicles and motorsports. "Chevrolet believed the modification was contrary to the applicable series rules, and asked IndyCar to thoroughly review the issue so that the rules were applied fairly. We respect the diligence of the panel appointed to hear the protest and examine the situation. While we are disappointed with today's decision, we are prepared to continue to compete at the highest level in the IZOD IndyCar Series.”
While Honda's official statement was expected by morning it did have a preliminary draft: "We are gratified that an independent panel has endorsed INDYCAR’s ruling of April 18, 2012. INDYCAR committed well in advance of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season to structure engine regulations focused on creating parity between competing manufacturers, and this commitment played a significant role in our decision to adopt a single turbocharger configuration for the new HI12RT Honda Indy V-6."
Honda's early working draft went on to discuss performance disadvantages between singe- and twin-turbo applications and said it looked forward to optimizing its performance "as we continue to do battle with our worthy adversaries from Lotus and General Motors." Per Rule 13.3.2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, the decision by this panel may be appealed by 5 pm EDT of the second business day following the decision. That would be after the Itaipaiva Indy 300, presented by Nestle, which is scheduled to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil this Sunday, April 29.