LIVE BLOG: 2014 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on June 29, 2014 6:00 am
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3:03 PM CT (Steph) – One of the highlights of my weekend was having the opportunity to meet Tony Sime, the lead engineer for the Chevrolet IndyCar engine program with Ilmor Engineering. He’s based in the United Kingdom and rarely has the opportunity to attend races in person, but he was invited by Shell both this year and last to attend the race here this weekend and talk to Shell’s invitees about the Ilmor/Chevrolet partnership with Shell and Pennzoil.

It was a very casual pre-dinner chat and so we weren’t exactly covering hard-hitting topics, but I did have a chance to ask him about Chevrolet’s motor oil in IndyCar. Both engine manufacturers are required by IndyCar rules to use off-the-shelf oils in order to foster commercial relationships, and Chevrolet and Ilmor chose to use Pennzoil products. (More specifically, Team Penske uses Pennzoil 0W40 Ultra Platinum with PurePlus Technology.)

I asked Sime whether the decision to use Pennzoil products in their engines was purely a commercial one, and he was very quick to say that it was not. He says they tested Pennzoil’s oils against those of its competitors and found that they offered a quantifiable advantage.

Also interesting: he doesn’t know which motor oil Honda uses, and he posed the question to Derrick Walker and he didn’t know, either. We’re curious, so that’s something we’ll seek to find out in the coming days.

It’s fascinating how many details need to come together to make a race car run on a given weekend, and Chevrolet and Ilmor count on Pennzoil to be one of them.

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12:20 PM CT (Steph) – We’ve just posted a story on the ongoing discussion of the penalty issued to Marco Andretti by IndyCar this morning. Among the highlights, Derrick Walker says “we made a new rule” to deal with the situation that was playing out on track. You can find the full story here: Walker on Andretti penalty: “We made a new rule”

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11:15 AM CT (John) – IndyCar Director of Communications Mike Kitchel stopped by to give us an update on Steph’s earlier story about the brake issues complaints from Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports and Simon Pagenaud. (See the 8:47 AM Live Blog entry.)

Mike let us know that IndyCar listens to all team concerns and in turn conveys those concerns to the proper manufacturers and suppliers in order to retain the spirit of competition and safety in its racing.

We here at More Front Wing are awaiting a statement from brake manufacturer Brembo in response to these concerns, and we will keep you updated on this developing story.

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