Chevrolet has appointed Rob Buckner as its new IndyCar program manager; a role that had remained vacant since his predecessor Chris Berube was redeployed within GM at the end of 2015.
Buckner moves across to IndyCar from Chevrolet’s NASCAR engine program, although he has previous IndyCar experience as an engineer on Sebastien Bourdais’ pitbox between 2013 and 2015. Prior to moving into motorsport, he worked on the LT1 engine for the C7 Corvette.
He joins a program that has won six consecutive IndyCar manufacturers championships, at a time when the return to universal bodywork puts all of the manufacturer spotlight onto the engine itself.
“I think we’re all really excited about this year,” he told RACER. “Not having the manufacturer aero kits makes it easier to focus, and also it gives us nowhere to hide in terms of results.
“We’ll kind of be going back to what we did from 2012 through 2014 with the standard aero kit, and using available data to know where you stack up – we’ll be going back to that kind of data analysis. So we’ve been there before, and we did really well with the last standard aero kit. It isn’t something we’re afraid of from a competition standpoint.”
Buckner also oversees a stable of teams that includes three-quarters of the new arrivals on the grid: Carlin, Juncos and Harding.
“I think we’ve got a lot of great teams for the year, and some new ones that we’re pretty excited about,” he said. “And we’re not confusing ‘new’ with ‘inexperience.’ They’ve got the potential to be high-performing right out of the gate. As long as we give them the right tools, they’ll be in good shape.”