Motorsport is in a strange place these days. If it isn’t being rocked by invasions and geopolitics, it’s struggling to find its place in an increasingly eco-conscious world. It’s because of this that electric racing programs have sprung up and historic series have turned to hybrid power. And now, that technology will be coming to IndyCar… in two years.
That’s right: In 2024, the pinnacle of American motorsport will adopt technology that has been in F1, endurance racing and other global series for *checks notes* almost a decade.
By the time the new 2.4-liter hybrid engines are first raced in anger in IndyCar, Formula 1 cars using similar hybrid power units will have completed more than 200 races.
When they do finally hit the track, the engines sound like they could be pretty formidable machines. And IndyCar said it hopes they will create “the most exciting and competitive racing series.”
To do this, the power units will increase capacity from a 2.2L V6 engine to a 2.4L V6. By itself, this engine will kick out 800 horsepower. But the 2024 engines will also have a hybrid element that adds an additional 100 horsepower to proceedings, giving 2024 Indy cars around 900 hp to spice up the action.
In contrast, the 1.6L hybrid V6 turbocharged power unit found in modern F1 cars kicks out around 1050 horsepower.
So why the delay for America’s flagship open-wheel motorsport? Well, as with many issues in the world these days, it’s all about that pesky supply chain.
According to IndyCar, the delay until 2024 for the debut of the 2.4L hybrid engine is “due to ongoing global supply chain challenges with some hybrid system components.”
In a statement, IndyCar president Jay Frye said: “We are pleased with the pace of the technical development of the 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 hybrid as we prepare it for competition.
“We are very encouraged by the progress our team and our partners have made, but an immediate decision needed to be made to ensure we are prepared for the 2023 season utilizing our current 2.2-liter engine package.
“Thanks to our great partners at Honda and Chevrolet for working through this challenging supply chain situation. We are going full speed ahead with the 2.4-liter hybrid engine and cannot wait to have it on track in 2024.”
According to the series, the first test of the new 2.4L V6 engine will come on March 30th, when testing will be undertaken at at Sebring International Raceway. Development, testing and work to incorporate the hybrid component will continue throughout the year.