Simon Pagenaud, Penske, Indianapolis 500, 2019

IndyCar plans power increase to 900bhp by introducing hybrids in 2022


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IndyCar has delayed the introduction of its next engine format from 2021 to 2022 in order to allow a new hybrid system to be added to its cars.

The championship currently uses twin-turbocharged 2.2-litre V6 engines which produce up to 700bhp. From 2022 a new, “single-source” hybrid power unit will increase total power output to more than 900bhp.

IndyCar intend the new hybrid engines to increase the power of its push-to-pass system and allow drivers to restart their engines without external assistance. In a statement the championship added it could “potentially improve the pace and overall time of races.”

Allowing drivers to start their own engines will also reduce the amount of time lost during caution periods, the series organisers believe.

Delaying the introduction of the new engine format will bring it into line with the planned replacement of IndyCar’s current DW12 chassis, which has been in use since 2012. It will also increase the opportunity for a new engine manufacturer to join current suppliers Chevrolet and Honda on the grid in 2022. IndyCar intends its next engine format to remain in place until 2027.

“As we move toward the future, we will remain true to our racing roots of being fast, loud and authentic, and simultaneously have the ability to add hybrid technology that is an important element for the series and our engine manufacturers,” said IndyCar president Jay Frye.

The championship has not indicated whether the new systems and chassis will increase the cars’ current dry and driver-less weight of up to 740 kilograms.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “IndyCar plans power increase to 900bhp by introducing hybrids in 2022”

  1. (Sits back to listen to the ‘Muricans moaning about God-forsaken hybrids)

    (They are the ones who invented “rolling coal”, after all)

    1. We still have a lot of F1 fans moaning about the hybrids, and wanting mandated V10s or even V12s. I don’t even wanna know how the IndyCar base will react.

      1. Exactly. If we thought the F1 folks moaning about the hybrids was bad, well, hold on to your horses.

        1. No problem with Hybrids if it pushes them beyond 900 HP. Plus IndyCar’s mantra has been fast and loud so they will get even louder I expect, not quieter. Bottom line is that the OEM’s want it, and Porsche was very close to joining recently but held off just for this reason. I suspect they may be interested again now. Whatever they do the racing will remain best on the planet.

          1. Bill, I thought the indication was that the talks between Porsche and the IndyCar series didn’t progress significantly beyond the preliminary discussions, and claims that Porsche were “very close to joining recently” now seem to have been overstated.

            If anything, it seems that Porsche’s main aims around IndyCar seem to be plans for expanding the Carrera Cup into the USA by arranging for it to become one of the support races for IndyCar, in much the same way that quite a few F1 races have the Carrera Cup as one of their support races for the weekend.

          2. There is one problem, weight. Extra power means nothing is there is more weight to carry.

        2. Looking at the replies to the announcement on Twitter, I guess IndyCar just lost a lot of “fans”.

          And by fans, I mean people who mostly only talk trash about how bad F1 is on every IndyCar tweet. Good riddance.

          1. The strong rumor going round for some time was Porsche was very close to joining the series as an engine supplier, not support race supplier. This formula change may have been influenced by them and other OEM’s looking at IndyCar. We may never know the facts on that, but I suspect we’ll see another OEM or two joining in the near future.

  2. The sport mgmt in the US always surprises me. It seems that the search for profit offset the “loss of liberty” in building their on cars. Sometimes it seems the most socialist endeavour in american soil. Profits are shared – even in bigger leagues, there are measures to keep competitiveness on/off track, and equality is looked for to enhance everyboy’s lifes.
    That makes F1 even stranger as the attachment to the constructor makes everybody’s life harder and less profit prone.

    1. Americans love the underdog story, and atleast in motorsport the idea that anyone can win is paramount.
      There is a real paradigm shift from the F1 world in Indycar in the concept of winning against the opposition, they approach it as winning against the best. They WANT to go against their rivals in the best possible form they can be, because they feel winning then is “more”.
      There’s a very nice interview where, I think Robin Miller or Marshall Pruett, sat down with The Captain, Chip and Andretti and chatted about what keeps them coming back to Indycar, the series and racing in America and all that stuff in general. It’s from a few years ago , can’t seem to find it now but it’s a good read/listen

  3. Notice how the headline is not about Hybrid Efficiency, but about … increase to 900 HP.
    Can see this in adds for cars and SUVs, a Volvo Hybrid with 450 HP on tap. Just what I need.
    Not sure what happened to the drive for efficiency and emissions reduction, left in the dust it would seem.

    1. @rekibsn
      There never was any drive for efficiency and emissiion

    2. @rekibsn, to be blunt, I suspect it is because more individuals seem to care more about the bragging rights that come with talking about how much power their car has – what sounds more exciting, talking about how much power you’ve got, or about fuel economy?

      The former is more exciting to talk about, and therefore marketing will usually focus on that instead – it seems to be particularly the case when the marketing team thinks that the buyer is more likely to be male, because market research does indicate that men are more interested in the question of “how powerful is it” and therefore that becomes the main selling point.

      1. When the FIA set up the current engine, sorry, Power Unit, regulations, it triggered a major focus on IC engine efficiency.
        With the fuel flow rate limitation in place, the only way to increase power output beyond a conventional base case, is through improvements in thermal efficiency. Something that all of the IC engine suppliers have done amazingly well.
        That is one of the reasons the engines run so close to their thermal limit.
        At the time of the new regs, it would have been technically intriguing if they had allowed more latitude in the use of ceramic materials. Currently limited to around 0.25 mm in thickness if memory serves.

  4. Mark in Florida
    2nd August 2019, 2:48

    I don’t mind the hybrid part as long as it produces soul crushing horsepower without touting on about how efficient they are. This is about making the cars fast without the expensive aero that F1 has. The machinery will be powerful but equal. The drivers will still be the main difference between the cars performance. I’m happy they are changing it up in the quest for more horsepower. Maybe a respectable manufacturer will come up with a new engine for Indy to use.

  5. Could be an opening for Mercedes, Renault or Ferrari.

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