Porsche was one of five manufacturers (not counting current engine supplier Honda) to meet with Indy Racing League officials in June and September regarding the IndyCar Series' 2011 engine specifications, as the series seeks future engine suppliers in addition to Honda. But Porsche research and development board member Wolfgang Durheimer does not foresee the German company entering IndyCar competition any time soon.
"IndyCar in the U.S. market is a very important series. Very historic and classic, Roger (Penske) is competing (in it) for a long time, we are good friends with Roger, we are also quite interested in IndyCar," Durheimer told AutoWeek. "But we've defined very closely our motorsport pyramid in the past and (we) try to shake out what is for our customer base the most important series to be in and we found that the (American Le Mans Series) with the prototypes is better suited to the demands of our customers. I think that it is not very likely that we are going into IndyCar. There is no open question (about entering the series) on the table right now."
Though Porsche's factory-backed RS Spyder prototype program will not continue next year--Penske will run a Porsche-powered Riley in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with former RS Spyder drivers Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard--Durheimer said that the company is evaluating a return to the prototype ranks, perhaps in 2011, with an LMP1 car. In the meantime, he noted that he would like to see various series adopt a standard base-specification for racing engines in international competition.
"(We are evaluating) world motorsports racing engine concepts because many rules at present are going to be written in a new form (soon). It starts with the Formula One of the future, (Le Mans), IndyCar. If we would be successful to suggest one engine base that fits different series, it would be much easier for us to go into different series because you wouldn't have to develop everything from scratch. If you have a base engine, one team can race Indy, ALMS, F1, and if you (always have) four cylinders, turbocharged, 2.X-liters, I think it would be a big chance for us. And this is the way we are working in some roundtable discussions, but it is not likely we are showing up in IndyCar in the next (few) years."
Other manufacturers who met with IRL officials in June and September include Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Alfa Romeo and Mazda. There is no word yet on their respective levels of interest in joining the open-wheel ranks.