Chevrolet clinches eighth IndyCar manufacturers’ crown in 12 years

Despite winning only five races to Honda’s 12 this year, Chevrolet has taken its eighth crown in the 12 IndyCar seasons since it returned to the series at the start of the 2.2-liter V6 twin-turbo era.

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin and Will Power, and Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott finished second, fourth and fifth in the 2023 season finale at WeatherTech Racing Laguna Seca to clinch the title by 12 points. The number of early engine changes – that not only drop a car by six grid positions on road courses, and nine spots on ovals – prevent that car from scoring points on that weekend. In this regard, Chevrolet’s engine units proved more sturdy in terms of reaching 2000 miles.

General Motors’ VP of racing Jim Campbell said, “It was close. It was close. Big thanks to Will Power and Callum Ilott. They got the key positions for the key points to put us right over the top. Super proud of the fact this is, as you said, the second in a row, eighth overall since we returned to IndyCar in 2012. It feels really good.


“Obviously proud of the five wins…Josef [Newgarden] with four, Scott McLaughlin, one at Barber. Certainly would have loved more wins, but we got the manufacturers’ championship. Super proud of that.”

Rob Buckner, IndyCar program manager added: “Just so proud of our people. A huge thank you to everyone that wears a Bowtie in the paddock, not just our technical partners at Ilmor and our GM employees — all of our race teams, everyone worked together.

“Like Jim alluded to, not enough race wins. We have a lot of work to do. Not pleased with all of the results, but to get the manufacturers’ championship, huge moment for us. Very proud of everyone on the program. Thank you to everyone who played a big role in that.”

Asked about the reliability battle toward the close of the season, Buckner said, “I think each one of those situations is unique. Sometimes it’s crash damage. Can’t comment on the Honda side, what issues they had. For us, I think it’s a huge testament to the build quality of our engine builders, the way our trackside group works to eliminate any issues as they pop up. It really comes down to an attention-to-detail-type situation.

“Also, both of us are pushing these engines so hard compared to when they first debuted. They were right on that edge of reliability, so huge kudos to our trackside group for looking after everything. They’re the reason we had cars on four engines eligible to score points.”

Buckner was not giving anything away when questioned by Racer regarding the amount of horsepower the Chevy has now compared with 2012 at the start of this engine era.

“If you can get Dave Salters [HPD president] to come in here and show you some charts, Honda’s number, we’ll follow up with ours,” he smiled. “It’s definitely been a huge increase. If you ran a 2023 spec 2.2 liter engine against 2012-spec 2.2 liter engines, it would lap the field. It’s been that sort of magnitude. It’s all small, incremental gains. Just goes towards the diligence of the group to keep finding performance every year.

“We think we have exhausted the 2.2 liter formula – and we keep finding more! We know if we slow down, we’re going to get surpassed. Us and Honda really push each other very hard. It’s a fun battle, one that we really enjoy.”

There have been similar leaps forward in fuel mileage.

“That’s another area we’re always pushing really hard,” agreed Buckner. “Working with the teams and drivers, fuel mixtures, the way they drive the car, looking for efficiency. I don’t see any reason that’s going to stop. Fuel mileage competition is like clean air versus dirty air — once you know there’s a huge advantage there, you’re never going to unlearn those things. We’ll just keep polishing on it. I don’t doubt our group will be able to come back in ’24 with a better package.”

Story originally appeared on Racer