IndyCar hybrid test, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2023

IndyCar further delays introduction of hybrid power units


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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.

The series originally announced it would introduce the hybrid power units for the 2022 season. They were twice delayed to 2024, and have now been delayed until later in the year.

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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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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11 comments on “IndyCar further delays introduction of hybrid power units”

  1. Wait, they’re getting rid of P2P? That’s a bummer.

  2. I hope they dont kill the relatively affordable entry price, which keep the field full of cars (im looking at you WRC) and competitive drivers.

  3. Oh no… well, at least it’s only a couple of races of a delay, not another season.
    But it’s still hurts me they delayed the introduction of the larger 2.4L engines and gonna keep the current 2.2L engines for another 1 or 2 seasons.

  4. Bit embarrassing that they can’t figure this out for Round 1, especially given how early the 2023 season ended (as it usually does in Indycar). Still, at least they seem confident that they took meaningful steps to reduce the weight of the car, as these hybrid cars tend to end up massively overweight.

    1. IndyCar’s hybrid system utilizes super capacitor technology to store electrical energy, so the weight gain and size is much less than F1’s hybrid system. Most series use batteries to store energy, but the super capacitor helps to keep the weight down and the amount of space taken up to a minimum. A motor generator unit (MGU) is fitted at the rear where the remote starter currently used attaches to the gearbox, while the super capacitor is inside the gearbox casing. Packaging is quite a challenge. It should give about a 150 HP boost when utilized, over the current 50 HP for push to pass.

  5. good for them, who needs less competition right ?

  6. Coventry Climax
    8th December 2023, 9:44

    The title is more clear than the first sentence for a change:

    .. the introduction of its new hybrid power units ..

    suggests there are old hybrid power units too, but there aren’t.

    Their current engine is a 2.2 ltr twin turbo V6, so ice only. That’s been around since 2012 already, which gives me mixed feelings. Indy does not seem to have lost much of it’s fanbase, despite running that same engine for what can be considered as ‘ages’, in motorsport terms. I must confess though, that I’m no Indy insider, and there may well be people -like me, where F1 is concerned- that would love to see more development being allowed and brought. On the other hand, going hybrid makes things complicated, expensive and heavy, non of which I’m particularly a fan of, to say the least. Initially, they were supposed to go to 2.4 ltr hybrids, but that was already abandoned, with them sticking to 2.2 ltr.

    Given what they tell us, there is only one explanation for them to postpone the introduction of hybrids, and that is that they’re not quite happy with where the -jointly Chevrolet and Honda- development stands, at the time of the decision. Whether it’s about overall weight, the weight distribution, dimensions, reliability or power output? Would be nice to know. But it is the Divides States of America; maybe there’s anti-hybrid sentiments at work?

    If they do indeed switch to the new engines during the season, does that mean they switch to new chassis as well? Seems like a very weird decision to do all that mid season, even if the article suggests they switch to the new engines only. But that means the swap is supposed to be rather seemless in terms of weight and weight distribution, meaning car handling, as well as where the ‘bolts and nuts’ go. But then it is in contrast with (other) news saying they have successfully shed weight chassis wise. Another matter, but if that’s possible, then why on earth wasn’t that done earlier?

    All in all, this brings me more questions than answers.

    1. .. the introduction of its new hybrid power units ..

      suggests there are old hybrid power units too, but there aren’t.

      Interesting interpretation. Been awhile since grammar classes, but I’m pretty sure that the hybrid power units are new. That doesn’t necessarily mean there are hybrid power units that are old– that might be phrased as “replacement hybrid power units”. An F1 driver might have a “new power unit” in their car, but if it’s the first race of the season, that doesn’t mean it replaced an old unit.

      I can see why English drives non-native English speakers crazy.

      As an American who watches European politics with some amusement, I find your poorly worded expression of denigration more exasperating than informative– if anti-hybrid sentiment were that strong, the engine wouldn’t be introduced at all.

      I would expect they’ve found a technical issue that needs a bit more time to iron out.

      1. Coventry Climax
        8th December 2023, 21:55

        Try portuguese.

        We have new rules generally means there’s old rules too. We have a new engine generally etc.
        That’s not a ‘take on english’, it’s normal interpretation.

        First sentence:

        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.

        And without ambiguity:

        IndyCar has further delayed the introduction of hybrid power units, which were etc.

        Just ditch the ‘its new’ and you’re there; no confusion, as ‘Introduction of’ already means it wasn’t there before.

    2. “But then it is in contrast with (other) news saying they have successfully shed weight chassis wise. Another matter, but if that’s possible, then why on earth wasn’t that done earlier?”
      – That’s not a sensible question. Let’s take the aero screen, where they plan to shed 5-7kgs from:
      It took them a lot of time, money and resources (which even involved an aviation company) to create the aero screen. And the aero screen was perfectly fine. There was no need to re-do it every year only because it was possible.
      Now, a valid reason to further develop the aero-screen (and make it lighter) has occured, so they again invested time, money and resources for that purpose.
      There was no reason or sense to do it earlier. The same goes for the chassis.

      1. Coventry Climax
        8th December 2023, 22:12

        In motorracing, any bit of weight that does not contribute to the car going faster, is either a waste, an oversight, for safety reasons or there because of the rulebook only, but then put to good use as moveable ballast.
        The higher up the ladder, the more rigorous this ‘rule’ applies. (Or maybe I should say ‘used to apply’, as the FiA has been messing it up pretty decently over the last years.)
        It’s the first thing you start looking for to make a car -any car- faster and more nimble. So if it’s possible to shed weight, that’s what you do – normally.
        But then they also race pickups in the states, which, to my opinion, borders insanity, even if anything unnecessary has been taken out. What’s next, racing Caterpillar Shovels?
        Owning a sports-/racingcar that’s 40% lighter than the current generation F1 cars makes you see the light.

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