Verizon IndyCar Series officials have confirmed that a more powerful engine formula will make its debut for the 2021 championship onwards. The announcement was made yesterday, prior to “Bump Day” qualifying for the 2018 Indianapolis 500.
Having run with 2.2-liter turbocharged V6-configuration engines since 2012, the series will change to a 2.4-liter V6 formula for the 2021 season, with an estimated horsepower increase of at least 100bhp. This will see the drivers grappling with over 900bhp when also factoring in the push-to-pass boost.
The new formula will last from 2021 until at least the 2026 season, providing current teams and engine manufacturers – as well as potential new engine manufacturers that may consider entering the sport – a sense of stability; as they now know what they will have to run with for at least the next eight years of IndyCar racing.
“Our drivers have been asking for more horsepower and thanks to the hard work of Chevrolet, Honda and the INDYCAR engine group, they’re going to get it,” said INDYCAR’s president of competition and operations, Jay Frye, at the announcement yesterday.
“We’ve talked with a lot of key executives and asked for their opinions, and they’ve all said this is a very relevant platform to what they’re doing. No announcements of additional manufacturers are imminent, but it feels like we’re on a good path.”
Representatives from both Chevrolet (General Motors) and Honda joined Frye for the announcement, with both parties pleased with the new engine formula:
“The 2.4-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine formula that will be introduced for the 2021 season will continue to showcase relevant technologies that we incorporate in our production engines,” said Jim Campbell of General Motors. “The opportunity to transfer learnings in performance, reliability and efficiency between the racetrack and the showroom is very important to Chevrolet.”
Honda’s representative echoed the sentiments of Campbell, stating that the new formula would be “exciting” for spectators whilst simultaneously offering development opportunities for the manufacturers.
“The new INDYCAR engine formula should be exciting for the fans and an interesting technical challenge for Honda Performance Development,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “While the overall architecture remains similar to the current engine, the increased displacement will bring many changes, including a notable increase in power that should please all fans of the sport.
“In addition, it provides our designers and engineers with an opportunity for significant development, which is a challenge we welcome at Honda.”
It will be interesting to see whether yesterday’s announcement sparks any further discussions between IndyCar and potential new engine manufacturers who may join the sport. It was reported back in February that series officials were in discussion with Cosworth regarding a future engine supply deal. The company has been absent from American single-seater racing since the final season of Champ Car in 2008.