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Honda, Dixon want 2024 IndyCar hybrid to be driver operated

Six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and his engine supplier Honda have called on series chiefs to put the new electrical hybrid boost system for 2024 in the hands of drivers.

Scott DIxon, Chip Ganassi Racing

Dixon has been testing the supercapacitor system on Honda’s side with Chip Ganassi Racing, which is being developed in conjunction with Chevrolet and Team Penske. It is a common hybrid across both powertrains.

The hybrid is worth up to 150bhp, similar to the power level of the current push-to-pass engine boost system that operates on road and street courses in the series.

Dixon and Penske’s Will Power tested the system extensively at Sebring this month and ran in both manually operated and automated formats.

How it will be implemented next year is now up to IndyCar bosses.

“It’s still being discussed,” Honda Performance Development president David Salters told Autosport. “The first thing is to make work; these systems are complex.

“The discussion we’re having with IndyCar is ‘how do we use this?’ because we want to show what the technology can do.

“IndyCar’s USP is extremely good, close racing where lots of people have a chance to win. Can we give our great drivers more tools via the hybrid system to help that, so they really have to think about overtakes and earn positions?

“It’s about showcasing the skill of the driver.”

After taking his second consecutive victory in the series at St Louis on Sunday, Dixon also implored IndyCar to put the system in the hands of the drivers.

Indycar Hybrid Sebring test

Indycar Hybrid Sebring test

Photo by: IndyCar

“The technology is pretty cool,” said Dixon, who has raced IMSA’s automated battery hybrid in IMSA SportsCar competition. “It's not our usual systems that I think we've seen in IMSA or other formulas.

“I hope they stick to not going automated, that it's really on a driver input factor, which I think will spice up our racing, as well. Hopefully they spotlight the technology.

“I think it's heading in the right direction. We'll have to see once we get closer to the time. There's a lot of effort that's brought to this and it's cool to see the tech they're bringing it.”

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Dixon revealed that the timeline for the system’s implementation, which was already delayed from 2023 due to supply chain issues, has been impacted by problems encountered in testing earlier this year.

“It's definitely still a work in progress,” he added. “I think the last few iterations have been a big jump forward.

“I think it was kind of iffy for a period of time there for next year. The last test went really well at Sebring. Logged a lot of miles.

“I think there's a big relevance for technology that is key for our manufacturers and what they do on a global kind of scale, especially what cars they produce for Honda. The hybrid situation is very big for them.

“I know they've put a lot of effort into it. The same with IndyCar. It's something that they've committed to.”

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