Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Dodge finds Indy cars intriguing, but doesn’t want to date right now, says CEO Gilles
CEO Ralph Gilles said on Tuesday that he "briefly looked into" the possibility of Dodge joining the Izod IndyCar Series in 2012 as one of at least two engine-providers, but added "right now, my focus is on NASCAR."
Gilles said he "kind of met" with IICS officials at a recent race, and although he came away intrigued by the possible reach into new demographic base, he didn't sound eager to join Honda, the sole engine provider after Toyota and Chevrolet left the series after the 2005 season. Honda officials have expressed a desire to bring in other manufacturers, and league president of competition Brian Barnhart said in July that he and league officials planned domestic and foreign junkets to find them. Gilles isn't ready to commit.
"It is kind of locked up with Honda right now," he said. "From actually studying that viewer base, it is quite different from Formula 1 and NASCAR. There is a unique viewer base there. It was intriguing, but it's a couple years out."
Roger Penske, who fields the only Dodges in the Sprint Cup series, said he would welcome "other investments or other manufacturing opportunities," in the IICS, where he fields a three-car team. Dodge's parent company, Chrysler Group, is run by Fiat, which also controls long-time Formula One participant Ferrari.