Chevrolet and Honda have swiveled their resources from testing their 2.4-liter engines to cooperating with each other and working with a new hybrid component supplier after it became clear that the proposed component from Mahle would be insufficient for the rigors of IndyCar racing and would not be ready in time for the 2024 season.
On the eve of the 2022 season, IndyCar announced that adoption of the new formula was being pushed back from ’23 to ’24, due to global parts supply chain issues. Mahle, which was building and developing the hybrid component, was struggling like several companies as chips or semi conductors were in short supply.
Still, both Chevrolet and Honda were able to test their 2.4-liter engines on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course in March last year
The hybrid unit was then tested on an IndyCar in October, and last month series president Jay Frye told Motorsport.com that the parts supply chain situation was improving.
However, in a press release today regarding its steps toward sustainability, IndyCar revealed that the adoption of the 2.4-liter engines was being “paused” and that the focus for testing over the next 15 months would be on the hybrid component, as developed by Honda Performance Development, Chevrolet with Ilmor and a new outside supplier.
“IndyCar is… continuing its path toward the introduction of a hybrid engine platform for the 2024 race season,” read the release. “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. With the introduction of the hybrid motor, the 2.4-liter engine will be paused to allow the innovative hybrid technology to be paired with the proven 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engines.”
The 2.2-liter engines made their debut in 2012.
Frye declared: “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. 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.”
Other eco-friendly moves by IndyCar include the strategic partnership with Shell whereby the IndyCar Series will compete with 100 percent renewable fuel from the start of the 2023 season. In addition, all IndyCar team transporters supporting the series will continue running on 100 percent renewable diesel between race shops and race venues.
Meanwhile the guayule Firestone Firehawk race tire as debuted in August’s Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville will be adopted in 2023 as the alternate race tire in an increased number of IndyCar races.