Another major milestone in the NTT IndyCar Series’ move towards hybridization in 2024 is lined up for the start of the week at Sebring International Raceway.
Multiple sources tell RACER that Team Chevy is set to turn its first laps with its championship-winning 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engine mated to the energy recovery system conceived by MAHLE during the Monday-Tuesday group test at Sebring. The test is meant to take place in concert with other IndyCar teams as they use the outing to prepare for the upcoming Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg street race on March 3-5.
The debut for Chevy’s existing 2.2L IndyCar engine — which will continue to be used for years to come—with the supercapacitor-based ERS unit follows multiple hybrid tests conducted by Honda with its Indy 500-winning 2.2L motor. Although Chevy conducted successful testing mileage with the new 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6 engine before the formula was shuttered, it’s believed the upcoming Sebring run will mark the first on-track outing for a Bowtie IndyCar engine in full hybrid configuration.
RACER also understands Team Penske will administer the test on behalf of Chevy at Sebring.
Announced in 2018, the NTT IndyCar Series created a new 2.4-liter TTV6 engine formula to replace the 2.2L formula that went into competition in 2012. In 2019, an amendment to the formula was announced with hybridization added to the package. Despite numerous delays that were often attributed to COVID and supply-chain difficulties, Chevy and Honda conducted their first track tests with the new 2.4L engines in March on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course where both brands and the series hailed the outings as near-perfect.
In December, and with its ERS vendor MAHLE facing significant concerns regarding its ability to mass produce the units in time for the planned 2024 launch, a grand change of direction was taken where the 2.4L motors would be shuttered in favor of sticking with the aged engines, and in turn, Chevy and Honda agreed to apply resources from the stillborn 2.4L project — personnel, financial, and technological — to develop and manufacture the ERS units for the entire field.