The new engine formula’s won’t come out until 2023 now. But, the engine war, albeit a friendly one, in the NTT IndyCar Series, is seeing a shift in dominance.
Until 2011, INDYCAR was a Honda dominated sport. Then, Chevrolet jumped back in with the new DW12 that came out and trounced their Honda counterparts year after year. But, since the universal aerokit that came out in 2018, it’s been all Honda.
On Sunday, Honda clinched the manufacturers championship. It’s the third straight season that they’ve done so. All they had to do in Sunday’s season finale was put two cars in the top nine of the finishing order. They did just that.
Chevy may have won five of the last six races, but it was Honda in one of those races that went 1-2-3-4 in the Indy 500 including putting eight cars in the Fast Nine Shootout there too.
Last year, Chevy had won eight of the last 13 races overall too, five of those eight were contested on ovals.
In 2018, Honda earned their first NTT IndyCar Series manufacturer’s title since 2011. See, when the DW12 came out for the 2012 season, Chevrolet joined Honda in the series as the two engine suppliers. Chevy, came in and took Honda to the woodshed in winning the manufacturers title in five straight years since their return.
Prior to 2012, Honda was the saving grace to the series. After joining Indy Car in 2003, Honda won the manufacturer championship in 2004 and again in 2005 when competing with Chevrolet and Toyota. From 2006-’11, Honda was the sole engine supplier before Chevy re-entered in 2012.
But, in 2018, it was all Honda. It was a big accomplishment for them to not only knock Chevy off their perch, but to do so in the first year of the new unified package. They had the pace and durability.
Only full-season entries earn manufacturer points, with the highest two finishers for each manufacturer at each race earning points based on the driver point system (50 for first place, 40 for second and so on; with double points awarded for the Indianapolis 500 and Sonoma). Bonuses are added for a race win (five points) as well as pole positions and being the fastest Indy 500 opening-day qualifier.
Durability is a key to the manufacturer point system, however. Each full-season entry is allotted four engines for the season to complete a total of 10,000 miles that includes testing, practice, qualifying and the races. If a car uses a fifth engine or more without completing the 10,000-mile threshold first, it becomes ineligible to earn manufacturer points.
Honda, had a great season.
Chevy won four of the first six races in 2018 but just two of the final 11 for the rest of the season. They won only 1 of the first 4 races in 2019 too. That was a string of 12 victories in their last 15 tries for Honda heading into the Month of May and three for Chevy.
But, that’s where the bowties turned it on. Chevy had won eight of the last 14 races and they also won the Indy 500 for the second consecutive year in 2019.
Honda’s though, have figured this out and look to be the class of the field again.
This was also their third drivers championship since 2012. All coming by Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing. The last non Ganassi team to win a drivers title for Honda was Andretti Green Racing in 2007 with Dario Franchitti.