The NTT IndyCar Series was the talk of motorsport earlier this year when it announced that cars would be using an innovative Aeroscreen next year in an effort to improve safety. It's just one of many ways the series is advancing and improving the sport into the future, and this week, IndyCar announced another major change is on the way. For the 2022 season, Honda and Chevrolet powertrains will use hybrid components and will produce more than 900 horsepower. IndyCar will debut its next-generation chassis in 2022, as well.
Motorsport has been undergoing major changes throughout the past decade. A wave of eco-friendly solutions has washed over the sport, and turbochargers have dominated the landscape. The all-electric Formula E racing league is settling into itself, and robotic autonomous vehicles are well on their way to a driverless racing series. Now, IndyCar is joining the likes of Le Mans cars by going hybrid as it hopes to find new ways to increase power while reducing environmental impact.
For years, Chevrolet and Honda have built the powertrains for IndyCar. Currently, the cars use twin-tubocharged direct-injection 2.2-liter V6 engines that range from 550 horsepower to 700. The addition of hybrid technology will help IndyCar boost those numbers to more than 900 horsepower. The hybrid system will have a multi-phase motor, an inverter and an electric storage device for regenerative braking. This will be a single-source system, which means it will come from a single supplier to maintain an even playing field.
In addition to increasing the vehicles' overall numbers, the hybrid system improves features, as well. For the first time, drivers will be able to start their cars from within the cockpit rather than using the old method of handheld electric starters. The push-to-pass overtaking system, which is used on road and street courses, will also be more powerful.
IndyCar had initially planned to release its new engine formula for 2021, but with the decision to add hybrid tech, it was pushed back to 2022 to align with the chassis change for a fully new vehicle. IndyCar is also exploring the idea of allowing an additional Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) team to join Chevy and Honda.
IndyCar plans to use the new hybrid formula for six years from 2022 through the 2027 season.