The NTT IndyCar Series will make a key change to its push-to-pass system in an effort to disguise its use among teams.
RACER has learned IndyCar will continue its practice of giving every driver a fixed amount of extra turbocharger boost, worth approximately 40hp, to aid in passing or defending on road and street courses, but will remove the ability for teams to track its use in real time during the race.
Although drivers do not have the capability of monitoring real-time push-to-pass information for nearby rivals, their race strategists have become adept at watching the push-to-pass data made available on the timing stand and using pit-to-car radio transmissions to alert their pilots when a driver they’re pursuing or trying to hold off has activated the system.
The new 2020 push-to-pass program will strip the live information from the data offered to its teams in favor of sending a single update at the end of each lap. If Driver A uses 10 seconds of push-to-pass during the lap to eke out an advantage over Driver B, the action will only be revealed when Driver A crosses the finish line and his or her remaining allotment of push-to-pass decreases by 10 seconds. The same masking of push-to-pass activation will also keep the system’s use private by drivers attempting to overtake with the extra 40hp in hand.
The change is meant to remove push-to-pass as a nullifying tool where drivers are alerted to its activation and asked to match the usage, thereby rendering the passing attempt through a temporary horsepower spike ineffective.