Chevrolet: IndyCar KERS hybrid unit still in "concept" phase

Chevrolet’s IndyCar programme manager Rob Buckner says that the series' planned use of a KERS hybrid unit on ovals in the new-for-2023 2.4-litre engines is still in a "conceptual" phase.

Chevrolet: IndyCar KERS hybrid unit still in "concept" phase

IndyCar has used its current 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6 engines since 2012, with manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda finding ever-smaller areas in which to improve and gain an edge.

IndyCar president Jay Frye said recently that he expects the series to be “pushing” 900 bhp on road and street courses by 2025 with the new engines, with an increase in displacement and boost combined with the addition the KERS unit.

Buckner predicted that “fans will be pleased with the power projections and where the engine programmes are headed overall” without specifying how much additional power the engines will be able to produce.

But with little to no braking energy to be harvested and turned into boost on ovals, he explained that introducing hybrid power to this arena still needed work.

IndyCar recently held a four-car test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with cars using push-to-pass to emulate the effect of running with hybrid power, which Frye conceded had created "more questions than answers".

“It’s been an interesting conversation with the IndyCar Series because we will be the first series to run a hybrid on an oval, so a lot of this is very conceptual,” Buckner said.

“In Indy [500] qualifying, the engine duty cycle is ideally 100%, you never lift, so how do you get kinetic energy from that?

Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Chevrolet

Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

“Other times, during the race, the engine duty cycle is not 100%, when you’re in traffic [and when tyres are worn], so that does open up the opportunity of harvesting energy there.

“In the end it’s an energy balance equation that IndyCar is going to need to tell us how to solve.

“MGU-H is very interesting but also adds a layer of complexity and cost that I’m not sure is the right fit for IndyCar, so I think we’re leaning more toward it being a kinetic energy recovery system primarily.

“The nice thing is with our boosted engines is that we’ve got the flexibility where, if at any point in the development in the first test of the hybrid unit we need more or less power, the engine programs function on an electric wastegate so it’s relatively easy to change the boost limitations if IndyCar desires.

“I think their intent right now is that ‘push-to-pass’ becomes fully electric and we could do away with elevated engine boost. But if they need us to help push with a little more boost, I think we would be easily able to do that.”

Buckner added that its new spec engine has commenced test running.

“We’re running 2.4-litres now, we have our first engines on the dyno, and we’re very happy with where that program is at,” he said.

“We’re multi-tasking – very busy times for the IndyCar programme.

“We’ve got to race the 2.2-litre 32-34 more times, we’re not looking to give up anything there, and then we’re looking to have a strong debut in 2023 as well.

“So the engine side of things is flat out at the moment.”

shares
comments

Related video

Alonso unsure if he'll race in the Indy 500 again
Previous article

Alonso unsure if he'll race in the Indy 500 again

Next article

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?
How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled Plus

How Ericsson achieved Indy immortality as Ganassi's main man stumbled

Chip Ganassi Racing team was strong again in the Indianapolis 500, with poleman Scott Dixon and reigning champion Alex Palou leading almost three quarters of the race between them. But when dominator Dixon was penalised for pitlane speeding, ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson stepped up to score the biggest win of his career and seize the IndyCar points lead

IndyCar
May 30, 2022
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021