Alfa Romeo ‘Thinking About’ Rejoining IndyCar

Sergio Marchionne, head honcho of Alfa’s parent company, posits the brand could join America’s premiere open wheel race series.

byJames Gilboy| PUBLISHED Jan 19, 2018 7:11 PM
Alfa Romeo ‘Thinking About’ Rejoining IndyCar

Alfa Romeo could return to IndyCar after more than 26 years out of the sport, according to statements issued by Sergio Marchionne, the CEO to Alfa Romeo's parent company, Fiat-Chrysler. 

"Why not Alfa Romeo in IndyCar?" said Marchionne to Motorsport. "We are thinking about it."

IndyCar's Jay Frye, president of competition and operations, declined to disclose whether there had been formal communications with Fiat-Chrysler or any of its subsidiaries but emphasized that current engine suppliers—Honda and Chevrolet—were receptive to the idea of stiffer competition in the form of more engine builders.

"Gian Paolo Dallara—I consider him a great, the best Italian engineer around," stated Marchionne, in reference to the eponymous Italian whose chassis manufacturing firm was founded in his name in 1972 and has had a monopoly on IndyCar chassis supply since 2007. An entirely new standard Dallara chassis is set to be used from this season onward, and the company announced late last year that it would build its first road car.

Alfa Romeo, however, has not been involved in IndyCar since the 1991 season when it supplied a single team, Patrick Racing, with engines. It abandoned its Formula 1 program years prior, last supplying Osella in 1987.

The Italian brand's market presence and motorsport involvement are back on the rise, however. Its production leaped 62 percent in 2017, and the Stelvio Quadrifoglio holds the Nurburgring lap record for road-legal SUVs. Likewise, after a thirty-year absence from Formula 1, Alfa Romeo confirmed in November that it would return to the sport as a partner to the Sauber team, and a similar F1 reentry for Alfa's Italian sibling and FCA kin, Maserati, is under consideration.

One thing holds true across the car market and motorsport: More competition is better. Here's to hoping Alfa does indeed return to IndyCar and give Chevy and Honda a wake-up call.