Start, IndyCar, 2021

IndyCar delays introduction of its 900bhp hybrid power units again

IndyCar

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IndyCar has delayed the introduction of its new hybrid power units again, blaming supply problems.

The series was due to replace its current 2.2-litre V6 engines with 2.4-litre models producing 800bhp. These were to be augmented by hybrid power systems, in a first for the series, lifting total power output to 900bhp.

The championship intends to hold its first track test of the new engines at the end of the month. However it announced today it will continue using its current engines for one further season, following discussions with suppliers Honda and Chevrolet, introducing the new engines instead in 2024.

IndyCar president Jay Frye said the series is “pleased with the pace of the technical development” of its new power units but problems with the supply of parts had prompted the decision to delay their introduction.

“We are very encouraged by the progress our team and our partners have made, but an immediate decision needed to be made to ensure we are prepared for the 2023 season utilising our current 2.2-litre engine package,” he said.

Honda’s new power unit has already been bench-tested, Honda Performance Development president David Salters confirmed. “We are very excited to get the electrified era of IndyCar series racing underway,” he said.

“We have finished development and dyno testing of our new internal combustion engine, and once the hybrid system component supply chain issues are sorted, we’ll begin track testing of the new hybrid power unit.”

Mark Stielow, director of GM Motorsports Competition Engineering, said: “We are proud of the hard work and level of commitment by our engine group, along with our teams and partners, in the development of the Chevrolet 2.4-liter engine for our IndyCar program.

“We were certainly excited to have it on track next season. Chevrolet remains fully committed to the NTT IndyCar series, and we look forward to debuting our future engine package in 2024.”

IndyCar’s current engine formula has been in place since 2012. The new specification was originally slated for introduction in 2021, but pushed back following the decision to add a hybrid component and delayed further by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest delay will bring the introduction of the new engines in line with IndyCar’s planned change in chassis format.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 16 comments on “IndyCar delays introduction of its 900bhp hybrid power units again”

    1. That’s OK, the racing has been good. I hope they can fully bounce back from the pandemic before any heavy investments.

      1. Makes sense to bring it out at the same time of the new chassis anyway. Probably should have been the plan from the start.

        1. Makes sense to bring it out at the same time of the new chassis anyway.

          This is Indycar. Next thing you know they’ll push the next-gen car out another two or three seasons because the teams couldn’t possibly be asked to buy a fresh tub once every 15 years or so.

    2. I wonder how the hybrid element will work in ovals, given that the cars are flat out for the entire lap? so no chance to recharge the batteries.
      In this case a MGU-H would be very helpful in recovering extra energy from the turbo, wouldn’t it?

      1. There will be a lever on ovals that the driver can use to engage energy harvesting.

    3. There will be a lever on ovals that the driver can use to engage energy harvesting.

    4. Sorry double post

    5. I saw they conducted a big fan survey recently which apparently had a majority of fans saying they wanted multiple chassis suppliers re-introduced so hopefully that’s something they also start to seriously look at.

      I’m not against hybrids or upping power levels to 900bhp+ as it was in the CART era 20+ years ago but opening up chassis suppliers & development is for me a far bigger thing of interest as I just always find that having a field of different looking cars which teams can develop to be far more interesting than a series where all the cars look the same & teams can’t do anything to them outside of basic setup.

      With it been a single make series with a field of identical cars it just comes across as a lower series. I think the move to spec/single make formulas outside of F1 has been by far the biggest downfall of open wheel formulas over the last 20 years. Especially since it’s pretty much mostly Dallara making cars that all share similar characteristics.

      Single make/spec series just don’t interest me which is why I don’t watch Indycar outside of the Indy 500 now & why I likewise don’t bother with F2, F3 etc.. They are all just so uninteresting to watch as they all look & feel the same now sadly.
      Show over sporting competition wins again I guess.

      1. It’s nothing to do with “show over sporting competition” – it’s just a different type of competition. It’s more of a pure sport where competitors have the same equipment and win by using their talent as opposed to F1 where 16 out of the 20 drivers could perform at the highest level ever achieved in motorsports and would still stand no chance of winning the race.

        I’m glad there are two high level sports that are different. I wouldn’t want F1 to become a spec series and I wouldn’t want Indycar to become an American version of F1.

        1. @petebaldwin I just want it to get back to where it used to be because the indycar we have now is significantly worse, less interesting & less popular than it used to be in the glory days of CART.

          I feel so sorry for the newer/younger fans who missed out on the true Indycar series rather than the ‘junior formula’ budget spec lower less interesting category it’s become now.

          It’s a shadow of what it was which is a big part of why it has only a fraction of the fans it once did before Tony George ruined it for everyone.

          And again it’s own recent surveys show most fans want multiple chassis suppliers & development because the fans know CART was better than what it’s become now. Facts!

          1. I just want it to get back to where it used to be because the indycar we have now is significantly worse, less interesting & less popular than it used to be in the glory days of CART.

            The problem with that is that there almost always was exactly one car to have, and all the other teams were saddled with an inferior car unless or until they could somehow acquire competitive machinery.

            There is basically no upside to opening up competition in that market, so I expect Indycar to remain a spec series going forward.

            1. I just want it to get back to where it used to be because the indycar we have now is significantly worse, less interesting & less popular than it used to be in the glory days of CART

              Thats a fair point, I never seen these ‘glory days’ but I’m really enjoying Indycar. Only in my second season watching every race but I think they must be doing something right to attract new fans such as myself. I’m really enjoying another series to follow.

        2. Coventry Climax
          4th March 2022, 11:44

          @petebaldwin: I’m sorry, but your ‘It’s more of a pure sport where competitors have the same equipment’ is, to me, is like looking at only one side of the coin.
          Similar to Lada complaining they don’t have the same chances as a supercar. They do have the same chances, but just don’t want (decided to) to make the effort. It’s taking the easy way, a shortcut, ignoring the huge amounts of passion and dedication, honing of clever designs, studying etc. that went into getting the supercar at the level where it is.
          Motorracing is just as much a sport, a competition, between brands as it is a competition between drivers. Or at least, that’s what it used to be, before those turning it into mostly an earning model decided to put show first.
          I like the sport for the fight between manufacturers as much – and maybe even more – as I like the fight between the drivers. Making it a spec series takes a huge chunk out of the fun for me.
          That’s why I want as many chassis, tyre, fuel and engine makers (and as many different specs of all those) into the mix as possible. That’s why I hate teams being allowed to buy and use the gearboxes, clutches, suspensions (and even complete designs) etc. designed by other teams.
          Oh yes, it involves a lot of money (dedication), but it feels awfully cheap just buying things of the shelf, like they do now.

      2. @roger-ayles
        I disagree with everything you said. IndyCar should remain being the pinnacle of competetive drivers’ championship. It should never strive to be Formula 1B, but something different and better.

        1. Exactly. Trying to emulate F1 will only result in its failure. After all, why eat ground beef when you can have ribeye? I don’t think it would necessarily be terrible to have unique constructor teams, but it would have to be so carefully managed to avoid exactly what happens in F1. After all, inferior tech + F1 field spread = the worst of both worlds.

    6. When you’re already at 800hp, all adding power does it to make the racing worse. We couldn’t even imagine the intensity of the racing if these guys were all driving cars with 500hp or less. It would be amazing.

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