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IndyCar CEO Frye praises 'good first weekend' for hybrids

This 12 months’s round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course marked the debut of the hybrid-electric system, a project that originally faced some challenges, but IndyCar president Jay Frye expressed appreciation for the tip result.

The series introduced a first-of-its-kind hybrid system, a part of a three way partnership between Chevrolet and Honda, during which the present 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine is paired with a low-voltage (48V) motor-generator unit (MGU) and a supercapacitor energy storage system (ESS) capable of manufacturing as much as 320 kilojoules per lap.

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The power output, when combined with the IndyCar’s standard push-to-pass system, increases the overall output to 120 horsepower, giving the motive force a complete of greater than 800 horsepower.

IndyCar Hybrid Unit

IndyCar Hybrid Unit

Photo: Honda

Early on, issues arose with the self-start feature, one among the important thing changes that permits drivers to press a sequence of buttons to start out or restart a stopped vehicle as a way to prevent a yellow flag from interrupting the race.

However, the issues that surfaced on Friday and resulted within the software being disabled on Saturday were reactivated on Sunday and have worked successfully several times.

A serious problem occurred before the beginning of the race when Scott Dixon’s No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda stalled during warm-up laps at Turn 5, sending the motive force into the wall.

The suspected issue was an ESS discharge, but IndyCar openly admitted it was still investigating the incident. Dixon was capable of return, albeit 22 laps behind, and ultimately accomplished 40 laps before retiring with what was described as a mechanical issue.

Dixon told NBC: “Something immediately started discharging the capacitors at an excessive rate, some kind of failure of the hybrid power cell.”

Dixon's incident ended his quest for a seventh championship; he was second within the standings before the weekend, just 32 points behind leader and teammate Alex Palou, but ultimately dropped to fourth, 71 points behind.

But Dixon proved to be the exception on a day that featured 80 laps of the two.258-mile, 13-turn course.

“It was a great effort by many, many people,” Frye told Motorsport.com. “Obviously, big shout out to Chevrolet and Honda for stepping up about 18 months ago.

“To have 27 cars running at the tip was an enormous achievement. When the drivers used all of it weekend, it was incredible. We had the No. 6 automobile (of Arrow McLaren rookie Nolan Siegel) start, back up and go (using the hybrid self-starter in warm-up), it was incredible.

“What’s really cool about this is that there’s still a ton of potential that we haven’t tapped into yet, but it’s a really, really good first weekend.”

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo: Josh Tons / Motorsports images

Frye also shared the nerves that quickly built up within the wake of Dixon’s issues.

“Yeah, for sure, because you don’t know,” Frye said. “This thing was really flawless this weekend, we got this thing sorted out with the launch function and naturally it worked, which was great.

“Our race teams are amazing… We’ve done around 31,000 miles of testing on this technique so the teams have been an enormous a part of it, as they at all times are, and it’s been an enormous effort from the entire paddock.

“But yeah, when something like that happens right away, you don’t know what happened, so you’re on tenterhooks for the rest of the event, but they were obviously able to sort it out and get back in the game.”

Frye emphasized that that is the primary day of a brand new era for North America’s premier racing automobile championship.

“I think as we go along, things will just get better and better,” he said. “It’s a process.

“Today we simply ticked all the boxes in the first weekend and I am proud of everyone’s efforts and optimistic about the future.”

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