Following the completion of the 2020 Cup season, Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing (via ECR Engines) will formalize a joint venture focused on engine research and development and establishing common Chevrolet engine specifications.
“While our two championship-winning organizations will collaborate on research and development, our respective engine shop operations will continue to function independently as they currently do,” HMS and RCR said in a joint statement provided to Motorsport.com.
“We look forward to working together to fully leverage the knowledge and intellectual property of our two successful programs to advance Chevrolet’s engine for NASCAR.”
The new collaborative effort will be overseen jointly by Jeff Andrews of HMS and Richie Gilmore of RCR (via ECR Engines) and a steering committee.
Andrews was recently promoted to executive vice president and general manager of HMS. Gilmore is president of ECR Engines.
Engines produced by HMS and RCR have earned a combined 39 NASCAR national series championships, including 20 at the elite Cup Series level.
"We started talking about this, Richie Gilmore at RCR and I, that the day was going to come when we really needed to figure out how to get these two programs together," Andrews said in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
"There's a tremendous amount of talent and people, a tremendous amount of equipment and resources between the two programs, so how could we do this? How could we take the long-standing heritage between the two companies and get that together and start to work on an alliance that would produce the ultimate power train for Chevrolet NASCAR?
"So, we have entered into that with them. We will maintain two separate facilities. When you step back and look at it, ultimately, when you have these resources and you have these people, you have to do what's right for Chevrolet, first and foremost, to get them back to the front of the field and to get wins and championships."
Chevrolet race cars fielded by the two organizations have won a combined 369 Cup Series points-paying events.
However, Chevrolet teams have been locked out of the Championship 4 the past three seasons. Jimmie Johnson was the last Chevy driver with a chance to compete for the series championship in 2016.
So far this season, Chevy drivers hold four of the 12 remaining playoff spots and own a combined five victories. The eight remaining Ford and Toyota drivers in the playoffs have combined for 22 wins.
The move by Chevrolet’s two independent engine builders comes after their competitors in the Cup series – Ford and Toyota – have both utilized unified common engine builders for many years.
In 2003, legendary engine builders Jack Roush and Robert Yates were the only teams building Ford engines in NASCAR’s premier series. They joined forces and formed Roush Yates Engines, becoming the exclusive Ford engine builder for NASCAR.
Since Toyota’s entry into the Cup Series in 2007, its engines have been produced at the Toyota Racing Development facility in Costa Mesa, Calif. The engines are then shipped to the East Coast to be used by Joe Gibbs Racing and Leavine Family Racing this season.