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IndyCar confirms new hybrid engine race debut for Mid-Ohio

As part of a collaborative effort between Chevrolet, Honda and IndyCar, the first-of-its-kind hybrid unit features the current 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine paired with ultracapacitor hybrid technology.

A total of 23,518 miles were completed among 28 drivers since testing began on 16 August, 2023.

“The strength of this uncharted partnership between Chevrolet and Honda has pushed this innovative project to the grid in 2024,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “The IndyCar specific hybrid power unit will bring a new and exciting element to the NTT IndyCar Series with additional energy and overtake options.

“We cannot wait to see the start of this new era at Mid-Ohio.”

Indycar Hybrid Sebring test

Indycar Hybrid Sebring test

Photo by: IndyCar

The much-delayed hybrid powerplant will feature additional overtake (push-to-pass) options that will allow drivers more choices and control, which is expected to enhance the on-track competition.

The system is made up of the low voltage (48V) motor generator unit (MGU) and energy storage system (ESS) – consisting of 20 ultracapacitors – both of which fit inside the bellhousing, located between the internal combustion engine and the gearbox.

During regeneration, acting on the clutch shaft, the MGU builds power to be stored in the ESS. The additional horsepower is deployed through the same motor generator upon driver demand.

For competition, options for automatic regeneration will happen via braking or throttle position, with manual regeneration via selected steering wheel paddles and buttons also available.

The deployment of the stored energy will only be available manually, which will happen through a latching button that is similar to the current overtake system.

Will Power participating in Indianapolis Hybrid Testing

Will Power participating in Indianapolis Hybrid Testing

Photo by: IndyCar Series

According to the press release: “While available to use in addition to the traditional IndyCar push-to-pass system on road and street circuits, the two systems will come with different rules.

“Push-to-pass will still have a restriction on amount of time per use and total time used over the course of a race. Rules for the hybrid power unit will limit the amount of energy deployed per lap – based on track length.

“Used in combination on road and street circuits, the added boost will provide an additional 120 horsepower for a total of 800hp+ for the first time in two decades. Additional horsepower is expected in the coming years as hybrid unit development evolves.”

The safety elements include a low voltage system and the ability for drivers to restart the car unaided in the event of a spin or engine stall, which will prevent the need for the AMR IndyCar Safety Team to be deployed and impeding any green-flag action.

“The introduction of hybrid technology provides an opportunity to integrate electrification technologies into the NTT IndyCar Series,” General Motors executive director, motorsports competition Eric Warren said. “During the development of any new technology, extensive analysis and testing are done to identify as many issues as possible.

“We support IndyCar’s decisions throughout this process to study testing data carefully and make sure that when the hybrid technology is integrated, the operation and performance are exactly what is expected.

“This approach has given IndyCar and the engine manufacturers the opportunity to ensure the high level of competition continues uninterrupted.”

Alexander Rossi participating in Indianapolis Hybrid Testing

Alexander Rossi participating in Indianapolis Hybrid Testing

Photo by: IndyCar Series

David Salters, president of Honda Racing Corporation USA (HRC) added: “Hybrid technology is playing an ever-increasing role in both our Racing programs and the  production vehicles created by Honda and Acura. More than a quarter of Honda’s total sales in 2023 – nearly 300,000 vehicles – were Honda CR-V and Accord hybrids.

“Introducing electrification to INDYCAR at Mid-Ohio further aligns our Racing efforts with Honda’s passenger car production as we operate multiple manufacturing and R&D facilities in central Ohio, employing more than 13,000 associates there.

“This is exciting new technology and, like all things new, has presented challenges to us at HRC as we have stepped in with our competitors to help INDYCAR make the hybrid system compact enough, powerful enough, light enough and reliable enough to work within the highly restricted confines of an IndyCar chassis.

“We are proud of our associates’ work to develop the supercapacitor pack and control software for the system. We look forward to hybrid tech adding another dimension to the great Racing spectacle and entertaining our great Honda and IndyCar Racing fans.”

IndyCar also disclosed that the power unit is scheduled for a full-field test on Tuesday, June 11 at the Milwaukee Mile to allow teams to finalize implementation ahead of the July debut.

On-track testing has taken place at Barber Motorsports Park, Homestead-Miami Speedway’s road course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IMS road course, Milwaukee Mile, Road America, Sebring and World Wide Technology Raceway to effectively mirror the disciplines of the IndyCar schedule.

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#IndyCar #confirms #hybrid #engine #race #debut #MidOhio

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