Honda won 10 of 16 races last season, and on the street courses like where the NTT IndyCar Series starts its season on Sunday in St. Petersburg, the Japanese brand was especially successful with four victories from five rounds.
Chevy-powered polesitter Scott McLaughlin believes the Bowtie’s 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 has made gains since the 2021 championship came to an end, and from what he’s felt from inside the No. 3 Team Penske Chevy, the IndyCar engine manufacturer war could be worth following this year.
“I think it’s been an absolutely massive step forward Chevy is taking with our driveability in particular,” McLaughlin said. “A lot of hard work from them and working with all the teams certainly feel a lot better. We’re definitely, in some of the micro sectors that were slower in over the last couple of years, were really good.”
Honda’s reputation for having the best low-end torque could be challenged if McLaughlin and the other top Chevy runners wander off into the distance and win on Sunday. It also means Chevy’s reputation for harder power delivery — something that wouldn’t be optimal on a low-grip street course where drivers would want more throttle modulation — could be up for revision.
For McLaughlin’s part, with his Honda rivals listening in, he’d rather keep some of the finer aspects of the improvement to himself…
“The driveability is a lot nicer,” he said, “and to be honest, it’s starting to come into my liking a little bit not having… Yeah, I’m not gonna go into too much detail, but I feel a lot better.”