SBD/Issue 46/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Chevrolet Returning To IndyCar Series Beginning With '12 Season

Chevrolet Will Offer A Twin-Turbocharged
Direct-Injected V6 Engine For IndyCar Series 

Chevrolet is "returning to the Izod IndyCar Series, with participation beginning in 2012 when the series' new equipment formula debuts," according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Chevrolet, which last competed in IndyCar in '05, "will offer a twin-turbocharged direct-injected V6 engine." The manufacturer will have Penske Racing "as its top team," though IndyCar Project Manager Tony Cotman "vowed to make sure manufacturers don't play favorites." Chevrolet was "motivated at least in part by a recent 40 percent jump in TV ratings among males ages 18-34." Team owner Roger Penske "expects an invigoration of Indy-car racing as a result" of Chevrolet's return. Cavin noted Chevrolet comes with a "marketing arm that will give Honda a partner with which to spar, on and off the racetrack." Meanwhile, Fiat is "among the companies that have shown interest" in joining Honda and Chevy, "perhaps with its Ferrari or Dodge brands." But "at a minimum, additional sponsors figure to join the 14 that IndyCar has signed" since Randy Bernard became CEO in February. The turnout at Friday's announcement was "easily more star-studded than the controversial new-car unveiling in July at the Indianapolis Museum of Art" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/13). GM VP/Performance Vehicles & Motorsports Jim Campbell: "Where we're headed in 2012 with this engine is directly in line with where we need to be in the marketplace" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 11/13).

MAN WITH A PLAN: SI.com's Bruce Martin wrote Friday's announcement was the "latest validation that Bernard is a man fully prepared and capable of leading the Izod IndyCar Series back to prominence." Bernard said Friday, "This is a fantastic day for us because it's an American engine manufacturer with a great heritage like Chevrolet. But we still have a lot of seats to sell, ratings to increase. We need a great marketing plan and need to help Honda and Chevy capitalize on selling cars" (SI.com, 11/12).

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