IndyCar Is Going Hybrid On July 7 At Mid-Ohio

indycar hybrid
(Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens)
The hybrid power units have been tested on track several times. (Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens)

IndyCar will make its long-awaited switch to hybrid powertrains on July 7 during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

The series was planning to start the season with the new powertrains, but postponed their implementation for further development, saying that it would launch after the Indy 500.

Mid-Ohio is three races after the big race and is both sponsored by Honda and not far from the IndyCar engine supplier’s research and development center in Marysville.

The hybrid setup adds a motor-generator unit fed by ultracapacitors to the current 2.2-liter turbocharged V6 and six-speed transmission.

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Energy will be captured under breaking then used by the driver on demand for a boost of approximately 60 hp, the same as the current push-to-pass system, bringing the maximum output of the powertrain to over 800 hp. Drivers will be able to set the brake regeneration to work automatically or via paddles and buttons on the steering wheel.

The current manifold pressure-based push-to-pass will still be available with a limited amount of seconds per event, while the hybrid boost will have a per-lap limit on energy usage.

The hybrid powertrain has already been tested at several tracks, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Milwaukee Mile. Unlike push-to-pass, it will be used on ovals.

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“This is exciting new technology and, like all things new, has presented challenges to us at HRC as we have stepped in with our competitors to help IndyCar make the hybrid system compact enough, powerful enough, light enough and reliable enough to work within the highly-restricted confines of an INDYCAR chassis,” Honda Racing Corporation USA President David Salters said in a press release.

“We are proud of our associates’ work to develop the supercapacitor pack and control software for the system. We look forward to hybrid tech adding another dimension to the great racing spectacle and entertaining our great Honda and IndyCar racing fans.”

“The introduction of hybrid technology provides an opportunity to integrate electrification technologies into the NTT IndyCar Series,” General Motors Executive Director, Motorsports Competition Eric Warren said.

“During the development of any new technology, extensive analysis and testing are done to identify as many issues as possible. We support IndyCar’s decisions throughout this process to study testing data carefully and make sure that when the hybrid technology is integrated, the operation and performance are exactly what is expected.”