The RACER Mailbag, May 25

The RACER Mailbag, May 25

Insights & Analysis

The RACER Mailbag, May 25


Q: Over the past couple of months I’ve read quite a few articles and theories about Ilmor vs HPD and how Ilmor finally fixed its drivability issue. They all reference Ray Gosselin moving over to Ilmor with his Honda engine knowledge.

If most of the paddock thinks that Ray Gosselin took his engine expertise from HPD and brought it over to Ilmor, why isn’t Honda going after him for trade secrets? It is quite obvious that his time working with HPD while at Andretti has heavy influenced the changes Ilmor/Chevy have brought this year.


MP: Quite the opposite. One thing that hasn’t been questioned is Gosselin’s integrity. The big and well-known area of separation between Chevy and Honda through 2021 was Honda’s willingness to tailor the engine’s response characteristics to the wants and needs of each driver. With Ray’s arrival, he’s ensured this has changed and with it, Chevy has erased one area of performance and optimization it, for reasons unknown, did not address as aggressively as its rival.

If Honda wants to go after Ray, every driver who leaves a good team for another good team will need to be sued because they all take similar things with them — how their former team has a process that’s better than the new team, and so on. And for the sake of clarity, Chevy, not Honda, makes their engine calibrations and finer engine data available to their teams, so you can’t take what you don’t have.

Q: Although I’m not a devout follower of IndyCar, I always read the Mailbag. I admit to a lack of understanding of the economics of IndyCar that has allowed GM and Honda to dictate these needlessly complex engines which are pushing car weight toward a ton. (I assume it’s partially green posturing, and some Silverado ad revenue for NBC.) Would annual lease expenses be more for engines produced by Gibson or Cosworth? Hard to imagine IndyCar fans are either committed General Motors or Honda fans. There has to be more than that. Help me out.

Jack Woodruff, Vail, CO

MP: Need to look at the big picture here, Jack, with how much Chevy and Honda support the series through their engine leases, where they lose money on every one, event sponsorships, event activations, TV commercials, etc. Yes, going to a generic engine would come at a lower cost, but then you break the economics of the series.

There are many committed Chevy/Honda fans — I know because I hear from them all the time. The new hybrid engine formula is what Honda demanded in order to stay in the series, and in time, Chevy agreed. Like NASCAR, IMSA, F1, WEC, etc., manufacturers are the economic lifeblood. I’m sure some are nostalgic for the days many decades ago when that wasn’t the case, but, as JPM likes to say, “It is what it is.”

Q: Multimatic is headquartered in Canada. Hinch is Canadian. Does Multimatic + Hinch = Hinch driving the Multimatic-developed Mustang GT3 in IMSA or any other GT3-based series?

Jonathan, Ventura, CA

MP: If I say yes, will that force Multimatic to make it so? My money is on The Mayor landing in IMSA, but probably more in the Porsche world than a new Ford that’s two years away.

Q: While attending the Indy GP I had a conversation with a Yellow Shirt, and he pointed out the new building inside of Turn 3 of the oval that was constructed to house the BMW performance driving school or whatever they are calling it. I commented about the building bearing IMS branding and not BMW. His response was the BMW branding would go up in September. That made me wonder if the delay until after the end of NTT IndyCar season was because the series and track wanted to have the new branding correspond to announcing BMW as a third engine supplier. Am I on to something, or am I victim of my own wishful thoughts?

J Panther

MP: As much as I wish a building inside Turn 3 is a harbinger of something bigger with BMW, sadly, it isn’t.

They say it’s Ferrucci in there, but could it really be the first autonomous Indy 500 entry? Phillip Abbott/Motorsport Images

Q: Part of the allure of open-cockpit racing is seeing the driver. Why would IndyCar allow the aeroscreen to be tinted when the helmet visor can be tinted instead?

Andy, Farmington, MI

MP: Completely agree. My guess is this will be fixed before we get to the next race in Detroit.