INDYCAR to continue with plans for hybrid technology in 2024, but with a different formula however now

INDIANAPOLIS — The NTT INDYCAR Series announced their intentions to still move to hybrid power for the 2024 season, however, on Tuesday they made a caveat to that decision. With the introduction of the hybrid motor, the 2.4-liter engine that was initially supposed to be introduced, will be paused to allow the innovative hybrid technology to be paired with the proven 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engines.

“We are most proud of the many advancements that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has made in leading the motorsports world toward a more sustainable future”, INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “The 2.2-liter INDYCAR engines supplied by Honda and Chevrolet have provided the most competitive racing in the world. The 2024 hybrid engine package will provide even more excitement with horsepower increases over the current engine.”

This program is being developed through the collaboration of Ilmor, Chevrolet and Honda Performance Development. Testing of the hybrid motor has commenced and will continue through the 2023 season.

The 2.4L package was supposed to add an additional 150-200 horsepower but by staying the same, I don’t expect such a large speed jump like initially though.

As far as why the change, there’s been no official confirmation but word I’m hearing is all about cost and a lack of a third OEM. By adding horsepower you add cost and by adding cost you risk development in other areas. Plus, with coming out of a pandemic, supplies are still short and highly demanded.

That’s part of it but until they can find a dancing partner with Honda and Chevrolet, this is going to be what it is for the series. Honda and Chevrolet never planned to each produce at the very minimum 12+ entries each. Initially, it was Honda, Chevy and Lotus and if they could get it to 8-10 engines packages per each manufacturer, you get 24-30 full-time entries on a yearly basis.

Lotus didn’t last. That directly and indirectly brought us to where we are today. For a series that’s growing, it’s still not as big as other OEM’s would like it to be. Without hybrid power already introduced and a series that is North American based, it’s difficult to find a global manufacturer to want in.

They all saw Lotus’ failed attempt that didn’t even last a full season. With a large chunk of change to jump in, a series on one side of the hemisphere and not as big of an ROI that they’d like to gain, what incentive was there for a Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, etc to be INDYCAR’s third OEM?

Then you factor in the 2020 pandemic and it leads you to here today.

The series keeps wanting to evolve their engine package and increase the speeds but factors keep getting in the way and this one is a major hurdle that if they continued on with the 2.4L, we’d likely have seen a significant decrease in entries for 2024 and a risk that we didn’t even fill the 2024 Indy 500 field.

This is the safe route to ensure none of the organizations lose and teams and can keep a full field moving forward while INDYCAR looks for a new partner to join Honda and Chevy.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season saw the announcement and implementation of many significant steps to a more sustainable motorsports racing series.

Perhaps the biggest announcement was the strategic partnership with Shell where the INDYCAR SERIES will compete with 100% Renewable Fuel beginning with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding on March 5, 2023. In addition, all INDYCAR team transporters supporting the series, will continue with 100% Renewable Diesel as they journey from their race shops to all 2023 race venues.

The Firestone Firehawk race tire with a green sidewall made from guayule rubber debuted in August at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. This scalable, sustainable and domestic source of natural rubber will be utilized in 2023.

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