IndyCar has further delayed the introduction of its new hybrid power units, which were due to appear for the first time in the opening race of the 2024 season.
Testing of the hybrid units began at Sebring in August. However in a statement on Thursday IndyCar announced the hybrids will not see competitive action until after the Indianapolis 500, the sixth round of next year’s 17-race season, which will take place on the last weekend of May.
IndyCar will race on the streets of Detroit the weekend after the Indy 500, which will likely prove too tight a time window to switch power units. The series will move on to Road America two weeks after that, and two-week gaps also precede the following two races at the Mid-Ohio road course and Toronto street track.
IndyCar president Jay Frye insisted the series is “completely committed to its successful introduction next season.”
Almost 25,000 kilometres of testing has been completed with the hybrid engines at Milwaukee Mile, Gateway, Road America, Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road and oval courses.
The series said it expects track records to be approached at the opening races of the season as several parts on its specification chassis have been lightened in order to accommodate the hybrid power units.
Once the hybrid unit is introduced, drivers will have unlimited use of the power boost available, unlike the current push-to-pass system.
Further tests of the hybrid power units are planned into the start of 2024. IndyCar says it will confirm a final date for the introduction of the engines at a later date. When the new engines finally arrive, it will be the first change in IndyCar’s power unit specification since 2012.
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