Although sales are on a gradual rise, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ premium Alfa Romeo brand is having trouble building market share in the US market following its tentative return earlier this century with the 8C Competizione, and a more whole-hearted relaunch with the 4C. Its range of offerings in the United States now growing, Alfa Romeo’s biggest obstacle remains capturing the hearts and minds of premium car shoppers who are either unfamiliar with the brand, or have grown to prefer big, heavy-hitting European performance brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.
One way to accomplish this might be through racing, and outside of NASCAR, there are few motorsport series that Americans love to watch more than IndyCar.
To that end, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said in January that the automaker is considering launching an IndyCar racing effort under the Alfa Romeo banner. IndyCar has been anticipating a third or possibly fourth manufacturer getting involved as an engine supplier, and with input from current engine suppliers Chevrolet and Honda, has come up with a new engine formula to replace the current twin-turbocharged, 2.2-liter V6s currently in use (per GMAuthority).
The new formula could take effect as soon as 2020.
“We do not have much experience in American racing, but we are thinking about IndyCar. Why not?” Marchionne told reporters at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He says the Alfa Romeo brand would likely partner with Dallara, as “Giampaolo Dallara is an excellent specialist and the best Italian engineer in the motorsport industry.”
From 1989 to 1991, Alfa Romeo supplied engines for the IndyCar World Series, in the form of a turbocharged, 2.65-liter V8 capable of around 720 horsepower.