Chevy Pops the Cork at New Racing Center

Scott Dixon unveils his car featuring a throwback livery for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. [Photo by: Joe Skibinski]

Scott Dixon unveils his car featuring a throwback livery for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.  [Photo by: Joe Skibinski]


One day after Honda Performance Development (HPD) announced its continuing commitment to build race-car engines for IndyCar at its Santa Clarita, CA shop, General Motors today turned the key on its brand new GM Powertrain Performance and Racing Center (PPRC) in Pontiac, MI.

The huge plant, over 100,000 square feet in size, fulfills the promise of an oft-rumored GM skunk-works to rival that of HPD and Ford Motor Company’s Special Vehicles Operation (SVO)— a centralized, state-of-the-art facility bringing together racing engine builders, engineers and other support staff — to service competitors in NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, IMSA and other racing series.

“This new center is a valuable tool in developing powertrains with the right combination of performance, durability and efficiency to help our drivers and teams win races and championships,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. Campbell is a key figure in GM’s participation in the IndyCar series, helping to introduce (among other things) the highly successful Chevy aero kit that swept competition in the 2015 season.

Among the key competition specialties rolled into the new plant are:

  • Design release, the quality control effort that assures concept execution is in order
  • Computerized numeric control, or CNC, the software brain that conducts precise build-part machining across critical manufacturing operations
  • Purpose-built 10×12 foot work bays tooled for each of eight highly-trained engine builders with over a century of experience collectively
  • Electronics and telematics integration, including what sounds like live or delayed race-reproduction capability
  • Dynamometer testing and spec documentation, including specialized units to test axle differentials for NASCAR and IndyCar
  • Calibration of all of the above to assurance consistency and compliance with the rule book, including a precision caliper (called a ROMER arm, which is a piece of equipment used to measure large objects, such as airplanes and cars).

Of chief interest to open-wheelers, of course, is the Chevrolet IndyCar 2.2 L twin-turbo V-6 which cranks out 700 horsepower from the direct-injected power-plant, although the facility will also produce big V-8’s for the Corvette Racing program and even some drag racing engines.

“Louis Chevrolet established GM’s racing legacy more than a century ago,” said Campbell, acknowledging the four Indianapolis 500 starts the company’s founder took between 1915 and 1920. “The new center will advance that legacy with greater competitiveness on the track and stronger technology transfer to production vehicles.”

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