The NTT IndyCar Series does not expect the sport-wide delays brought by the coronavirus to impact the introduction of its new hybrid powertrains in 2022.
Unlike Formula 1 and NASCAR, which had significant changes planned for their respective series in 2021 that were subsequently moved to 2022 in reaction to COVID-19, IndyCar is moving ahead with its 900-plus horsepower 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6 engines and kinetic energy recovery systems. With the unpredictable nature of the pandemic’s impact on the sport, contingency plans are also being developed for pushing hybridization back to whatever date is necessary for the series and its stakeholders.
“We’re working on things in the shorter term to save our teams money this year, and have a longer lead time to our technical changes in 2022 than some series who had plans to do something new for 2021,” IndyCar president Jay Frye told RACER.
“So we’re monitoring the situation, but there’s nothing we’re seeing that says to change course.”
RACER understands Chevy and Honda, which supply IndyCar’s current, non-hybrid 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6s, continue to plan and work towards the technology change coming to the series in 2022. Once the shelter-in-home decrees lift in California, where Honda Performance Development is based, and in Michigan where Chevy Racing is located, and the United Kingdom, where its engine partner Ilmor Engineering is primarily housed, an increase in 2022 powertrain R&D is anticipated.
“We’re geared our plans to make next year really light on costs for new items; we’re talking four figures in updates per car,” Frye said. “We’re all looking forward to going racing again, and our next big initiative is with hybrid powertrains, which is where a lot of our partners are focused.”