The NTT IndyCar Series, Chevrolet and Honda are expected to announce a unified agreement for the introduction of the series’ next-generation powerplant on Saturday, along with multi-year supply extensions from both auto manufacturers.
Previously confirmed for 2022, RACER understands the new 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6 internal combustion engine (ICE) formula, and kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), will be pushed to 2023. The decision to delay the hybrid package is said to be driven by two significant factors.
Due to manufacturing shutdowns and personnel limitations in the wake of COVID-19, the production of 30-plus bespoke KERS units to suit IndyCar’s needs is likely to stretch past the start of the 2022 season, making the current timeline impossible to meet. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which was due to unveil a new hybrid prototype class in 2022, has also moved its anticipated debut for the LMDh cars to 2023 as a result of the manufacturing delays projected by KERS supplier Bosch, and battery supplier Williams Advanced Engineering.
The second reason for IndyCar’s shift to a combined ICE and KERS rollout for 2023 is said to have been made to satisfy the differing desires of Chevy and Honda. Facing the possibility of launching the new ICE in 2022 and KERS in 2023, Honda Performance Development president Ted Klaus made it clear in an interview with RACER that the split timelines would not be acceptable. It’s also believed that Chevy has been in favor of the opposite, which has made negotiating with both brands a challenge for IndyCar.
By agreeing to the new 2023 ICE+KERS launch date, all parties have apparently arrived at an amicable outcome. It also means the current 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 formula, which went into service in 2012, will continue through 2022.
Unrelated to the forthcoming IndyCar engine announcement, Honda’s surprise news of its upcoming exit from Formula 1 has no bearing on HPD’s American open-wheel plans. Honda’s F1 involvement is funded, run, and managed from a separate group in Japan.