IndyCar’s U-Turn on Hybrid Tech

IndyCar has announced it will introduce a single-source hybrid system to its engines for the 2022 racing season.

This move echoes that of the world’s other top open-wheel race series, Formula 1, which saw hybrid power units introduced in 2014. This is a significant reversal of IndyCar’s previous stance on hybrid technology when, in 2018, its governing body insisted that the next-generation engine regulations would stay with the ‘fast and loud’ concept. Hybrids in F1 have been criticized for their lack of trackside noise when compared to traditional ICE powertrains, so IndyCar’s move clearly favors a more future-focused approach.

However, unlike F1, engine displacement will actually increase slightly, from 2.2-liters to 2.4-liters, while the V6 turbo architecture will remain. Together, the engine plus the hybrid system will develop more than 900bhp. The hybrid part of the power unit will develop around 40bhp-50bhp, delivering this to the rear wheels. It means the ‘push to pass’ system used in the series will see more power, with drivers able to press the button to get a power boost for a certain number of seconds every race.

With push to pass only used on road and street courses currently, and with the hybrid unit recovering wasted heat energy from the brakes, it’s possible the new system will not be used on ovals and superspeedways, which have very few braking opportunities and, therefore, little chance of recovering energy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *