IndyCar to begin testing hybrid engines in early 2022

Chevrolet and Honda will begin testing their new 2.4-litre IndyCar engines next spring, as the series prepares for the introduction of hybrid power from 2023.

IndyCar to begin testing hybrid engines in early 2022

The current 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6s that have been in service since 2012 produce approximately 700hp on road and street courses, with a further 50hp available on push-to-pass boost.

IndyCar aims for the new 2.4-litre engines to have an 800hp baseline by 2025, with a further 100hp on tap from the KERS system.

Series president Jay Frye confirmed to Autosport that testing will commence “in the first quarter of next year” in a similar manner to how the series introduced the current universal aerokit for 2018 “where the manufacturers have a big impact on the teams chosen to test the cars”.

“We have delayed this a couple of times but now feel good about where we’re at, so the first quarter of next year we’ll be on track,” said Frye.

“We’re sorting through the procedure right now, but I would envision doing the testing very much like how we did the aerokit testing.

“It was useful with the aerokit testing to be able to get drivers who were current but weren’t full-time – Juan [Pablo Montoya] and Oriol [Servia] – and that is how I’d imagine we’ll go testing the 2.4s to start off with, but we’re not there yet.

”Until that on-track test, Honda and Chevrolet can’t do anything except bench testing.”

IndyCar president Jay Frye

IndyCar president Jay Frye

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

The hybrid unit – the manufacturer of which remains unannounced – will require a cooling system, extra wiring, a control box and energy storage unit, all of which various team engineers reckon will add around 45kg in weight.

Frye said the series was seeking to understand the changes that would be needed to the car to accommodate hybrid, including to weight distribution and engine-cover design, before making any hybrid supplier announcement.

He added that the series is still seeking to attract a third engine manufacturer, citing the pandemic as a problematic factor in getting a newcomer over the line.

“We’re talking to different OEMs like we always have, and we’re encouraged. And if you’re thinking, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve heard that one before,’ I understand - it’s not for lack of effort that we haven’t been able to confirm a third manufacturer yet,” he said.

“Part of the problem has been timing. There were a couple we got pretty far down the road with, but for them to spend money on something new that has no form of electrification was not going to happen. So we’re solving that part of the equation, and we remain talking to several possibilities.

”We’re hopeful.”

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