IndyCar to introduce hybrid system in 2022

by Jordan Groves

The NTT IndyCar Series has today announced that a single-source hybrid system will be introduced to the championship in 2022. Every competing car will be fitted with the new system which will aid the drivers through increased push-to-pass boost, as well as providing the drivers with the means to start their own engines.

The introduction of the new hybrid system will coincide with the planned next-generation chassis design that was already slated for the 2022 season. The previously planned new engine formula that was set to be introduced has now been delayed to try and entice new engine manufacturers to the sport.

The hybrid system will work in a very similar way to which you have seen hybrid technology implemented in other championships such as Formula 1. The technology, when introduced to IndyCar, will consist of a multi-phase motor, inverter and electric storage device, which will allow previously wasted energy to be collected under braking.

That energy will then be transformed into electrical energy which will then be able to be used through an upgraded push-to-pass boost system – which will temporarily increasing horsepower output to 900bhp – as well as through an onboard starter motor. The new ability for drivers to be able to start or restart their own engines without outside assistance will provide a welcome improvement in safety, as drivers will be able to quickly restart their engines in the event of a stall and will be able to get back underway without causing a caution period or a potential crash on the circuit.

In today’s announcement, Jay Frye, the President of IndyCar, stated that the introduction of hybrid to IndyCar was “exciting” and a continuation of the championship’s “move toward the future.”

“It’s an exciting time for INDYCAR with the forthcoming evolution of the cars and innovations like the hybrid powertrain being incorporated into the new engine,” Frye said. “As we move toward the future, we will remain true to our racing roots of being fast, loud and authentic, and simultaneously have the ability to add hybrid technology that is an important element for the series and our engine manufacturers.”

The announcement comes after an agreement between the championship’s two current engine suppliers, Honda and Chevrolet, to introduce hybrid technology. IndyCar also hopes that the introduction of hybrid technology, coupled with the continuation of the current engine specifications, will persuade further manufacturers to enter the sport as engine suppliers. Cosworth and Porsche have recently been rumoured to be interested in joining the championship.

The plan had been to switch to a more powerful 2.4-litre turbocharged V6 engine configuration from 2022 onwards. Now, however, the championship will remain with the current 2.2-litre turbocharged V6, now with the added hybrid system, until the 2027 season.

Representatives from both Honda and Chevrolet commented in today’s announcement that they supported IndyCar’s introduction of hybrid technology for 2022; with both going on to say that the introduction will be a great way to showcase and develop hybrid technology for the production vehicle market.

“Honda is committed to racing in order to develop people and technologies relevant to the future of our sport and our world,” Ted Klaus, Honda Performance Development President, said today. “INDYCAR offers us the perfect platform to prove out both people and technologies in an environment where measurement of successes and failures is crystal clear.”

“Chevrolet supports delaying the implementation of the revised engine regulations until 2022 to coincide with the NTT IndyCar Series introduction of new technologies with the chassis,” U.S. Vice President of Performance and Motorsports Jim Campbell added. “The partnership between Chevrolet and IndyCar remains a strong platform for showcasing relevant technologies that we incorporate in our production engines, and transfer learnings in performance, reliability and efficiency between the racetrack and the showroom.”

The 2019 NTT IndyCar Series will continue in a couple of weeks time with the 2019 ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, which will take place on Sunday, August 18.

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