IndyCar, Chevrolet, and Honda Announce Next Engine Formula
INDIANAPOLIS -RIS- (May 19, 2018) Bucking the automobile industry's trend toward more fuel-efficient vehicles and alternative technologies, IndyCar announced today that they've reached an agreement with current engine suppliers Chevrolet and Honda to introduce a 2.4L twin-turbo V6 engine formula in 2021, to be run through the 2026 IndyCar season.
The current IndyCar engines are 2.2L twin-turbo V6s, manufactured by Chevrolet and Honda.
Opting for "fast and loud" over fan and market relevance, IndyCar is responding to drivers' requests for more horsepower (the new formula should yield "900+ horsepower", says INDYCAR VP of Competition and Operations, Jay Frye).
Frye says they've reached out to other manufacturers who aren't currently competing in IndyCar in hopes the new twin-turbo V6 formula would be of interest to them. This introduction date allows them time to enter competition at a time of a "level moment" for all manufacturers.
"They're aware of what we're doing," said Frye. "We get their feedback."
Such currently disinterested manufacturers would include the Ford Motor Company, FIAT/Chrysler, Toyota, and the other European- and Asian-based manufacturers.
While specifics have yet to be hammered out, it's believed the new package will fit into the current Dallara IndyCar aero kit.
Tests will begin in the summer of 2020.
One can't help but wonder if this isn't a catastrophic mistake by IndyCar.
When Carl Fisher and his three co-founders built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was designed as a testing ground for the automotive industry. For years, technological developments at the Speedway found their way into the family car - the rear-view mirror, turbo- and supercharging, fuel injection, disc brakes, seat belts, electronic ignition.
With the entire automobile industry gravitating toward alternative technologies that are more fuel-efficient and ecologically sensitive, the decision to go toward "fast and loud" as they called it seems terminally misguided.
The drivers clearly want more horsepower, particularly on road/street courses. Drivers ALWAYS want more horsepower. In the early 1970s, unfettered turbocharging gave Indy cars over 1000 horsepower.
But more horsepower means shorter engine life, and higher costs for more-frequent rebuilds.
It seems the technologists behind this decision are resting this decision on the desires of the drivers and teams, and don't seem to understand what younger, currently unengaged future audience members might be interested in, as fans of the old-fashioned notion of fast and loud cars die off.
Is Indy car racing ready for hybrid technology or electrification? It should be.
Carl Fisher would have been.
Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.