IndyCar: Drivers Comment on New Hybrid System

This is the final race for the engine package that the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has used for the last decade.   The hybrid power unit, a thrilling addition to the 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged engine, will debut at Mid-Ohio on July 5th.

Most teams tested the hybrid at the Milwaukee Mile last week after the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin race.  Autoracing1 spoke with a couple of drivers about their experience.


Scott McLaughlin       Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo

Scott McLaughlin, driver of the No. 3 Good Ranchers Chevrolet, was confident that the new component would add to the racing.

“It was a good test.  I had driven the hybrid later in last year, so I had an understanding of it a little bit.  It was nice to see the developments that they have made since then.”

“I had never driven with it on the oval.  It is an interesting thing to get a hold of.  Some things that work less on the oval than it did on a road course.  But it is nice to learn that.”

“It is going to be interesting as we head to Mid-Ohio.  It is going to make the driving a lot more busier.”

Autoracing1 asked the Kiwi if he thought the hybrid would improve the racing.

“I can’t comment on that right now because I don’t know yet.  There are a lot of power decisions INDYCAR has to make right now.  How much are they going to use the hybrid? ”

“Ultimately it is going to be a cool thing.  A great option for the series to move to something new.  It is definitely the new future for our series, which is exciting.”



Will Power                                                     Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo

McLaughlin’s teammate, Will Power, is very comfortable with the new technology.  Having been one of the first drivers to perform hours of testing, Power is ready to start using it.

“The hybrid test had no issues.  The tire was very hard.  I think we need a much softer tire to create a bit more passing.  They can definitely do less sides because the track had no load.  Very low grip surface.”

“I think the system has been improved and works pretty well now.  But we have going to have  your typical teething issues.  Just because it has not been run by 28 cars for a full race weekend.”

“We have done more than race lengths.  It has been reliable since the Homestead test I did.”

“You would have to plan your strategy really well on an oval, like where you would use it and when you regen.  The car behind has an advantage on that, although you might just site with a tank full.”

“I think it should be a totally automated and be incorporated into the engine, in my opinion.  It should be automated so a driver does not have to interact with. But we have to get to a point where they get it in a reliable way you could use enough power.”

“The series is thinking we would get a small amount of energy we can use on each lap to start out.  Later we should get more time.”

“The average fan can’t see it.  You could not even tell if we had another 100 horsepower.”


Pato O’Ward                                                                Photo by Chris Jones | IMS Photo

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward had a different take on the new technology.

“I think in terms of entertainment purposes, we need to work with Firestone and IndyCar on bringing a different tire because what we used there was definitely not what we need.  No one could pass.  The tire was too hard.”

“The system really does not do much.  Obviously there could still be faults.  It is a new system and we are still learning it.”

“In terms of performance, you are not looking at over a tenth anywhere.  It is very, very small.”

“We are just carrying more weight so it will be more energy on the rear.  Honestly, you can almost never use it and still have the same exact race.  on the oval or a road course.”

“It does not bring enough performance for it to be actually different, in terms of the outcome.  You feel the burst.  But does it actually translate to performance?”

“Maybe a little bit.  You are better off focusing on having a good corner and a good setup rather than trying to perfect the system.  For the added weight, it definitely does not compensate.”

“Over time that will improve, as we learn how to extract more of the unit.  But as of right now, in terms of what limits we can use.”

“A fan won’t notice absolutely nothing.   The  drivers don’t notice much besides just making  our lives harder and more complicated, for not a lot of gains.”

It will be interesting to see how the new technology plays out in Mid-Ohio.  To add to the intrigue, the surface was repaved in October and has cured over the mild winter.

Lucille Dust reporting live from Laguna Seca



Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :