Sunday, July 14, 2024

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The midpoint of the 2024 IndyCar season marks the tip of an era

The internal combustion engine (ICE) era is evolving, with North America’s premier open championship combining the present 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, a mainstay of the series since 2012, with hybrid technology starting with the upcoming round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 5-7.

“I have two emotions,” said Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

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“I mean, I'm sad since it's the tip of an era. We grew up falling in love with the game, having a certain framework of what it’s now. At the identical time, for those who take a look at where the world goes, where manufacturers are going, you’ve got to evolve. It's an exciting time for the series to take this step into the longer term. This is something that is very important to all of us and the partners involved.

“It's (each) pleased and sad. It's great to give you the option to introduce latest technologies into cars, but it surely's also sad that this phase of motorsport is coming to an end.”

Alexander Rossi and Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Alexander Rossi and Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo: Josh Tons / Motorsports images

Developed in collaboration between Chevrolet, Honda and IndyCar, the low-voltage (48V) hybrid unit consists of a motor-generator unit (MGU) and an energy storage system (ESS) – comprised of 20 ultracapacitors – each housed in a transmission coupler situated between the engine and gearbox.

In addition to the long-established push-to-pass system, drivers will now also give you the option to depend on hybrid power assistance, providing a complete of 120 additional horsepower for a complete of greater than 800 horsepower – a level not seen in IndyCar in greater than twenty years.

During the regeneration process, acting on the clutch shaft, the MGU accumulates the ability stored within the ESS. In the case of IndyCar, the extra power is transmitted at the motive force's request by the identical motor-generator.

Regeneration options can be found; automatic mode by braking or throttle position, while manual mode is chosen using paddles and buttons on the steering wheel. As with push-to-pass technology, the stored energy can only be used manually using a latching button.

Start: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Global Honda

Start: Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Global Honda

Photo: Phillip Abbott / Motorsports images

Similar to the push-to-pass system, the hybrid solution will even be available on road and street circuits. However, different rules apply to the 2 systems, because the push-to-pass function stays limited to single-use time and total race duration, while the hybrid powertrain limits the quantity of energy used per lap on a basis over the length of the track. Both might be used concurrently – as intended – for max power utilization. Additionally, unlike push-to-pass, the hybrid implementation will even be used on ovals.

“I don't know how much of a difference it's going to make,” said Colton Herta, driver of the No. 26 Andretti Global Honda.

“It's a brief burst of energy. If you're on a superb run, it could possibly offer you a bonus to pass someone. I don't think it's going to create a chance to pass. I feel it's more about how badly you wish to pass.

“If you don't have a fully charged battery when you restart, you probably deserve to pass.”

One of the unique benefits of this first-of-its-kind device is the flexibility to begin the vehicle itself and proceed driving after stalling, minimizing the danger of requiring intervention by the AMR safety team.

A brand new era begins next weekend on the two.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain course in Lexington, Ohio.

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