Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia

Mid-point of 2024 IndyCar season marks end of an era

When the checkered flag waved as Alex Palou took victory in last Sunday’s race at Laguna Seca, it also signaled an end of an era in the IndyCar Series as part of an unprecedented midseason powerplant change.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) period is evolving as North America’s premier open-wheel championship pairs the current 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, a pillar for the series since 2012, with hybrid technology beginning at the upcoming round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course July 5-7. 

“I have two emotions,” said Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

“I mean, I'm sad because it's the end of an era. We grew up falling in love with this sport with kind of the framework of what it is now. At the same time if you look at where the world is going, where manufacturers are going, you got to evolve. It's an exciting time for the series to take that step towards the future. It's something that's important to all of us and the partners involved.

“It's (both) happy and sad. It's cool to be able to introduce new technology into the cars, but also it's sad that this phase of motorsports is coming to an end.”

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Developed as a collaborative effort between Chevrolet, Honda and IndyCar, the low voltage (48V) hybrid unit is comprised of the Motor Generator Unit (MGU) and Energy Storage System (ESS) - consisting of 20 ultracapacitors - both of which fit inside the bellhousing located between the engine and the gearbox. 

In addition to the longstanding push-to-pass system, drivers will now also be able to rely on hybrid assist for a combined 120 additional horsepower that brings the total over 800 horsepower - a mark not seen in IndyCar in over two decades.

During the regeneration process, acting on the clutch shaft, the MGU builds up power stored in the ESS. Per IndyCar, the additional horsepower is deployed through the same motor generator on driver demand. 

There are options available when it comes to regeneration; the automatic via braking or throttle position, while manual is selected through steering wheel paddles and buttons. And similar to push-to-pass, the deployment of the stored energy will only be available manually through a latching button.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Global Honda, start

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Global Honda, start

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Like push-to-pass, the hybrid deployment will also be available on road courses and street circuits. However, there are different rules for the two systems as push-to-pass remains restricted to the amount of time per use and total time over the duration of a race, while the hybrid power unit will limit the amount of energy deployed per lap based on track length. The two can be used simultaneously – for the allotted usage – for maximum horsepower usage. Additionally, unlike push-to-pass, the hybrid deployment will also be used on ovals. 

“I don't know how much of a difference it will make,” said Colton Herta, driver of the No. 26 Andretti Global Honda. 

“It's a short burst of energy. If you have a run going, it might give you the edge to pass somebody. I don't think it will create the opportunity to pass. I think it's going to be more of a factor of how much push to pass you have.

“If you don't have the battery fully charged on a restart, you probably deserve to be passed.”

One of the unique advantages coming with the first-of-its-kind unit is the ability for a driver to self-start and continue on when stalled, leaving minimal chance of the AMR Safety Team needing to be deployed.

The new era begins next weekend on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course in Lexington, Ohio.

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Why IndyCar’s Race Control should tweak yellow flag policy during pit cycles
Next article Andretti Global rules out adding part-time IndyCar entry for Pourchaire

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia