In a press release from INDYCAR, the sanctioning body announced the hiring of former Toyota Racing Development lead engineer Darren Sansum to lead the Verizon IndyCar Series’ engine development program.
As the new managing director of engine development, Sansum will lead the charge in a hunt for INDYCAR’s new engine formula being explored for either the 2020 or 2021 seasons. The 47-year-old brings a championship pedigree after winning the last two NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series manufacturer championships with Toyota.
Not entirely new to the INDYCAR scene, Sansum has had stops in his motorsport career with the Ford Motor Company, Cosworth Technology and Ilmor Engineering. The press release stated that the veteran engineer will officially begin overseeing Chevrolet and Honda engine development within the Verizon IndyCar Series starting February 6.
“What excites me about this role is that it’s an opportunity to use my 25 years of engine engineering,” Sansum remarked. “It’s an opportunity to help develop the sport itself and it’s particularly pertinent that it’s with INDYCAR since that’s where it started for me and it’s the fastest category in North America.”
“INDYCAR is going in a good direction, and I’d like to help further develop that and continue going in that direction. The competition’s very close between Honda and Chevrolet at the moment. I’d like to contribute to the evolution in this direction with the ultimate goal of adding manufacturers into the sport.”
Happy to assign a dedicated managing director to the continued engine development plans, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, Jay Frye, hinted that Sansum was a leading candidate throughout the search for an experienced lead engineer to lead the program.
“Darren is someone we targeted early on in the hiring process,” said Frye. “There is a lot happening within INDYCAR’s engine program, both current and future projects. Darren’s background makes him a perfect fit to lead our engine program today and into the future.”
Sansum’s first major event in his new capacity will come February 8-10 when teams travel to ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona for the first open test of the season. The Verizon IndyCar Series season opener will be on March 11 when the green flag drops on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
Images courtesy of IndyCar Media.