INDYCAR announces more powerful engine (Updated)

The engines will be the same as today but with 0.2L increased displacement
The engines will be the same as today but with 0.2-Liter increased displacement

Update: Added Press Conference Script Below

Beginning in 2021, INDYCAR engines will produce more power due to a new configuration, the sanctioning body announced today.

The 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines are projected to generate at least 100 more horsepower than the current 2.2-liter platform, with more than 900 horsepower achieved in the 2.4-liter formula when using push-to-pass overtake activation.

Providing stability for the Verizon IndyCar Series and its competitors, the engine regulations will be in place for six years, through the 2026 season. INDYCAR has utilized the 2.2-liter, turbocharged V-6 formula since 2012, with exclusive use of twin turbos since 2014.

Engines will continue to turn at a maximum of 12,000 RPM.

On-track testing will begin in the summer of 2020.

"Our drivers have been asking for more horsepower and thanks to the hard work of Chevrolet, Honda and the INDYCAR engine group, they're going to get it," said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations.

Executives from Chevrolet and Honda said the new configuration suits their needs.

"The 2.4-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine formula that will be introduced for the 2021 season will continue to showcase relevant technologies that we incorporate in our production engines," said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports for General Motors. "The opportunity to transfer learnings in performance, reliability and efficiency between the racetrack and the showroom is very important to Chevrolet."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"The new INDYCAR engine formula should be exciting for the fans and an interesting technical challenge for Honda Performance Development," said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. "While the overall architecture remains similar to the current engine, the increased displacement will bring many changes, including a notable increase in power that should please all fans of the sport. In addition, it provides our designers and engineers with an opportunity for significant development, which is a challenge we welcome at Honda."

Frye said additional manufacturers have been included in the planning of the next generation of engine specifications.

"We've talked with a lot of key executives and asked for their opinions, and they've all said this is a very relevant platform to what they're doing," Frye said. "No announcements of additional manufacturers are imminent, but it feels like we're on a good path."

[Editor's Note: Without 100% races on free over the air TV and a good international TV contracts, why would a manufacturer come? They did not come with the current engine and adding 0.2-liter does nothing to correlate to passenger car engines that will soon be 100% electric of hybrid. So what is the impetus?]

Participants

From left, Jim Campbell, Jay Frye and Art St. Cyr
From left, Jim Campbell, Jay Frye and Art St. Cyr

Jay Frye – IndyCar
Jim Campbell – Chevy Boss
Art St. Cyr – Honda Boss

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: An important announcement from IndyCar and the companies that the gentlemen to Jay's left represent.

Jay Frye, president competition and operations for IndyCar. To his right is Jim Campbell, the vice president performance vehicles and motorsports for General Motors. Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development.

Beginning in 2021 the Verizon IndyCar Series will switch to a 2.4 liter twin turbocharged V6 engine. That regulation will be in effect for six years through the 2026 season.

Jay, if you could talk about the benefits of this and the excitement behind it, the collaboration and so forth that goes along with this announcement.

JAY FRYE: Yeah, it's been a long process the last year. We can't thank everybody at Chevrolet and Honda enough for the help regarding this process, lots of people in the room. Thank you all who have participated. Thank Art, Jim.

Quite excited about this. The drivers have talked the last couple years about horsepower gains. This will get it to where we need it to be. It will be in the plus 900 range. Five-year plan for the car, extending the plan into 2026.

We're excited about today's announcement.

THE MODERATOR: Jim, your thoughts on this program.

JIM CAMPBELL: I want to thank Jay and his team for the collaboration, also with Art. Working together, there's times we compete on the track intensely, there's times like this where we have to work together for the betterment of the sport. This is a great example of that. We really like the direction we're going, adding more horsepower that translates to more speed both on road courses and the ability to handle the cars, then the superspeedways, as well.

Importantly for a manufacturer, in our business, this is still a small displacement engine. That's important because that's the trend in our industry right now, small displacement, direct injected boosted engines. That technology translates to what we do in the showroom, propulsion systems for the showroom. We'll continue to learn, start at a new point with this new engine, and continue to take those learnings and drive them to the production side of our propulsion systems.

We really like that principle. That's the key reason why we raised the tech transfer element of it. It's going to be very exciting, more horsepower, more performance for all the drivers.

THE MODERATOR: Art, you can speak to the relevance for your company as well.

ART ST. CYR: We said that all along that IndyCar racing we think is the purest form of racing, open-wheel racing in general. But at Honda as a company, we had been involved in open-wheel racing since really the formation of our company, specifically here in North America to run open-wheel cars is the reason why Honda Performance Development was even founded.

We have been continuously in the series, we made an announcement in 1993, HPD and our involvement in IndyCar are linked. We think this is a very relevant series, it's a way that you can highlight, as Jim said, the technologies that is the future of our road car, at least the midterm, I'll say that, small displacement turbo engines. It's very important to us to have this new formula. Obviously we've been working on this current formula, which HPD — the current engine formula, there wasn't competition, and we welcomed competition. We think this engine is a good platform to bring in not just Chevy and Honda but other manufacturers, as well. We look forward to competition. We think this is a really good formula.

I want to thank Jay and also the folks working with Honda, really coming up with a formula that looks like it's going to work. We're very happy about this higher horsepower concept. We put it more in the drivers' hands, which is what we want, make it more exciting for the fans, more interesting for the manufacturers, as well.

THE MODERATOR: Jay, you didn't make this decision in a vacuum. You've talked to other people, too, shared your vision with other manufacturers. Talk a little bit about that.

JAY FRYE: It started a couple years ago (indiscernible) aero kits. There's certainly other manufacturers that we treat as if they are one of our current manufacturers. They're aware what we're doing, where we're going. We get their input, their feedback. Does that mean it's happening or imminent in any way? No. They think we're in a good place, on a good path.

The car piece is the first. That started with the aero kit, universal car now for '18, '19 and '20. The engine piece will be extended to 2026. When we talk to folks, if you look at it in that regards, it actually turned out to be there's 10 total years to the plan. We're sticking to the plan. Again, everybody, Chevrolet, Honda, is a huge part of developing this piece, the car and the motor. We're certainly all in this together.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. To make the 900 horsepower, 2.4 liter engine, does that require the same turbo boost?
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: The boost on road courses will go up. It is going to go up. That's part of the element of it. Then the decisions around what we do on qualifying day, taking the boost up, I suspect that will happen. It's going to be a combination of those pieces.

The exciting part about it, with those assumptions, we now can get to work and start thinking about pure development of this new engine. To Jay's point, Art mentioned as well, we compete fiercely with competitors in the showroom and on the track, but what Art said struck me as well. We don't like racing against ourselves. We like racing against competition. See if other OEMs are interested in this formula, the aero kit, to see if this is an option for them.

As an OEM, these are big decision, but very exciting. Increased displacement, boost increases, depending on the track formation. The combination will be more horsepower, more performance, more speed, more exciting for the fans.

Q. Will it require new fuel specification?
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: Not necessarily. It's part of the process we're going to go through again. We're announcing the platform. Lots of bits and pieces that still have to be solved. We'll start track testing in the summer of 2020. That's the goal today. There are a lot of elements we'll all work on together to get it to where we need to go next.

UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: What you read is a framework for the engine. There's a lot of details of how the engine is going to run that we haven't agreed upon yet.

Q. Is there anything that you can use from the current engine to the new engine? Concerning the dimensions, the size of the new engine, are you working close with Dallara that it will fit in the car and chassis?
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: Yeah, I mean, we're starting from a — we're starting from a fresh piece of paper. Obviously if we can carry over parts, we will carry over what we can, if it makes sense for this. The overall package of the engine is designed to fit in the current car. Overall dimensions of the engine should not change.

UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: I would agree. It will be a clean sheet of paper. Within the parameters that Jay and his team set, we will then put our specific design on it, optimize performance, durability and efficiency, all the way you win races. You have to have those in the right combination.

Q. So during this time period, it's very feasible to think we're going to see a new track record for the Indy 500 during that time span?
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: Possibly, yeah. There's a lot of elements that go with that. Obviously this car, it's the first time out, so it has great potential over the next two or three years. The car right now, it's '18, '19, and '20. This is '21. It's the next piece of that equation, too. As soon as possible.

UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: That's not necessarily a stated goal, but it will happen as we gain performance, that necessarily we will go faster.

Q. You said this is just a platform. Any thought of hybrid, alternative technologies? 2026 is a long time down the road. Is that something you thought about being able to add to this platform?
JIM CAMPBELL: We have had some of those discussions. Jay talked about that the real concept is for IndyCar to be fast and loud. We also want to be relevant to what's going on in the world. We do know from a Honda side, we have a stated goal to bring two-thirds of our — electricfy two-thirds of our global fleet by 2030. Obviously we'll be thinking about those types of things.

Right now we're talking about the framework of the engine, which is the twin turbo V6, it's going to be the fundamental thing that happens in 2021.

ART ST. CYR: Our company around the world, certainly electrification is a key thing, along with (indiscernible) vehicle technologies, so on. For this direction, the 2.4 twin turbo, we'll talk about the applications, there's still much efficiency to be wrung out of these engines. We have to continue to find ways to take that efficiency level up, deliver the power the teams need to perform, and do it reliably. That combination, whether you're talking about the racecars or production vehicles, the principles apply. It's just what combination you put them in is important.

Q. Jay, if I understand correctly, you are in touch with other engine manufacturers. How big is the possibility that will see more engine manufacturers?
JAY FRYE: It's our stated goal. That's why we're working that far out. With the car piece, there was some hurdles to overcome which we think we've solved. They see what we're doing, where we're going with the engine piece, we've discussed with many other OEMs. There seems to be enthusiasm and relevance to that. We're going at that very hard, yes.

JIM CAMPBELL: Just to add one thing. That's something that we talk with Jay and Mark and C.J., I'm sure Art has as well. We'd like to see more OEMs. More competition is better. That's something we advocate. For manufacturers to get into a series, it takes a while. The great news is that the series is having those dialogues, see where this thing goes. We're very fortunate to have new teams this year. There's options next year and the year after that. As we grow, it's going to become even more important that we have a third to participate.

UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: One of the reasons for announcing this engine now, this is what we have to start developing to actually meet 2021. We'll be starting off pretty soon. Obviously you have to work through the rest of the details, including engine supply agreements, all those types of things, which currently end before this new engine comes in. This is the time to bring in new manufacturers because it's a fresh sheet of paper. It's hard to come in when Chevy and Honda have been racing against each other for years, trying to build the engine as it is now. There's a good, fresh start to bring in new manufacturers.

JIM CAMPBELL: As an OEM, you're looking for that opportunity. When is the reset happening? This is a chance to come in on a level moment and begin development like Art and we will, as well.

Q. The importance of the security factor in knowing you're going to have these two long-time partners here for the future.
UNIDENTIFIEDSPEAKER: Absolutely. They've been phenomenal for many, many years. Again, we're all in this together. We've created this platform together. We're going after this other OEM together. They've been supportive and helpful. This is spectacular what we have. We're growing. The third one comes into play when it becomes even more important just for capacity reasons.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Exciting announcement.

Leave a Reply