Andretti Green testing with bigger Honda engine, ethanol
XM Radio will have an announcement today at SEMA regarding a new radio show with Andretti Green racing. While at an XM function last night I asked team owner Kim Green (in the black shirt) about early testing with the new Honda IRL engine. As you may know, the Indy Racing League is switching to pure ethanol for the 2007 racing season. Honda, which is the only engine supplier, had to increase the displacement from 3.0 to 3.5 liters to make up for the lost horsepower (ethanol packs less energy than the methanol used previously), and Honda wanted to add a little more durability and torque to the engine. Without getting into specifics, Green praised the early results and said his team is working on the mundane tasks, such as pit-road speed, in addition to tracking the new power curve and checking for heat issues. He said Honda continues to make progress on finalizing a fuel map. As opposed to ethanol vs. gasoline where E85 drags down the fuel economy, ethanol offers better gas mileage than methanol. IRL may require smaller tanks, said Green, going from 30- to 25-gallon fuel cells. Right now that's creating a problem for the pit crews as the fuel would be topped off before the tire changers are finished. IRL may require a restrictor in the fuel-feed line to slow the fuel and keep the pit routines about the same as previous seasons.