RACING

Chevrolet Works to Address Mid-Ohio Reliability Issues

ADVERTISEMENT

Chevrolet has confirmed that none of the issues that caused four of its cars to pull out of Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio were related, although Chevy’s IndyCar program manager Rob Buckner says that the Bowtie has some work to do to bolster reliability ahead of a busy schedule in July.

“It was a surprisingly messy day,” Buckner told RACER. “The weird thing for me is that we raced Friday and Saturday pretty much perfectly and then it looked like the race had started and it was just ongoing issues. I guess the good and the bad new are that every car that had issues was unique so it’s not like we had a series of failures at a certain mileage All of these engines were due out after Mid-Ohio so they were all in that 2000 range miles and up, so initially you start thinking, ‘oh, do we have a major problem around the 2000 mile mark?’, but they were all pretty unique.

ADVERTISEMENT

The two most consequential issues wiped out the pair of Arrow McLaren SP cars, with Felix Rosenqvist’s #7 coming to a stop in smoke after just eight laps, and Pato O’Ward’s #5 developing the first signs of what was to come. became terminal issues as the Mexican held a comfortable lead towards the end of the first stint.

“Car #5 was a fuel supply issue,” Buckner said. “That engine had been repaired due to a Chevy problem at Road America, but what happened on Sunday was just fuel supply, out of Chevy’s control, and really out of the team’s as well. The fuel system has suppliers and parts needed so one was just an unfortunate incident, it was very painful as this car was on track for a very good day.

“#7 was something totally different; definitely on our end. It was a quick engine failure. We haven’t got that one caused by the root yet; we have to tear it down this week and see what happens. We’re very proud that we don’t have any engine failures on track and Felix was having a good day so we let him and the #7 team down so we definitely need to do better for Arrow McLaren SP We take great pride in having reliable race engines, and Pato was a DNF at Road America which was on us, and Felix was a DNF on us at Mid-Ohio, and the #5 car also had its problem So we have a wave of reliability issues with AMSP that we’re going to do whatever we can to fix, and we know the race team will do the same. We can’t wait to get to Toronto and continue with this. band.

According to Buckner, the recent series of issues affecting the AMSP have not been related to anything specific to the team and how it works with the engines.

Rosenqvist caught the wrong end of a random engine failure early in the race at Mid-Ohio. Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

“They just weren’t lucky,” he said. “Pato’s problem at Road America was an electrical sensor failure that could have happened to any of our cars. And then the mechanical failure that we saw with Felix, we don’t know what caused it yet. but it’s still pretty random. We work very hard to avoid them. We always respond well to these types of issues very quickly, so we’ll get over it and move on.

Outside of AMSP, the #11 AJ Foyt Racing car driven by Tatiana Calderon and the #77 Juncos Holinger Racing car of Callum Ilott also retired early.

“Car #11 had a team-side shifting issue that ended its day prematurely, then car #77 had a strange engine event that led to engine failure and retirement” , Buckner said. “So we ended up with four cars retiring with transmission problems, which is way too many. I was quite a long day.

“But at the same time, we came away with the trophy, so if you have a bad day and you can still come away with a win, I think everyone in our side will take that. We just need to iron out a few loose ends before we head into those next four race weekends in July and hit the reset button as we leave Mid-Ohio.

Despite the unusually high number of mechanical failures, Chevrolet ended the weekend with three of its cars in the top four, led by Team Penske race winner Scott McLaughlin. Buckner said the Chevy teams’ performance was the silver lining to a frustrating race.

“I’m really proud of our group,” he said. “We never give up, which is a good thing because we have some issues right now! It was weird, with Friday and Saturday in Mid-Ohio being pretty quiet, then all of a sudden the green flag flies for the race and it’s just been chaos from the start.

“But still being able to win says a lot about the depth we have right now. If we can clean up our reliability to improve performance, our teams and drivers are doing a great job. I’m really proud of McLaughlin; the two races he won this year, he held off (Alex) Palou. Will Power’s drive from back to front has been huge for the championship, and Josef Newgarden is there too. If it wasn’t for his qualifying issue… we hate being greedy, but if you look at the pace we had, we should have had a better weekend than us.

“So I think we still have a lot of potential to have a good second half of the season. We just have to keep pushing because we clearly know how quickly events can turn against you. Five races in July; we have to solve all these problems and resume our activities.

Chevrolet’s hat-trick at Mid-Ohio gives it an 81-point lead over Honda in the constructors’ championship heading into next weekend’s race in Toronto.

ADVERTISEMENT