IndyCar announces Mid-Ohio as first race featuring the hybrid technology

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens
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North America’s top single-seater championship has now officialised the debut date for the long awaited switch to the hybrid engine system. 

The new engine will be used for the first time in the Mid-Ohio round in July, following an impressive number of testing sessions completed over the past seven months, since the new engine made his track debut on August 7th 2023 in Sebring.

28 different drivers from all the teams have driven challengers adapted to fit the new power unit needed for the switch, in testing sessions held on all types of circuits including the IMS. Ahead of Mid-Ohio the grid will have a final test opportunity on June 11th at the Milwaukee Mile.

The hybrid technology, delayed multiple times over the past years, was supposed to make its IndyCar debut in 2023, with president Jay Frye committing in December 2023 to a 2024 mid-season switch.

Frye commented the announcement, highlighting the importance of the epochal innovation: “The strength of this uncharted partnership between Chevrolet and Honda has pushed this innovative project to the grid in 2024.

“The INDYCAR-specific hybrid power unit will bring a new and exciting element to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with additional energy and overtake options. We cannot wait to see the start of this new era at Mid-Ohio.”

Other innovations will be introduced alongside the most talked about launch: new Push to Pass features which will allow more freedom and choices for the drivers, a regen option with different rules for different tracks which will allow more power, as well as safety improvements like a low voltage system and the opportunity for drivers to restart their own cars.

Honda Racing Corporation President David Salters also discussed the hot topic, mentioning also the fact that studying this new generation of cars is aiding Honda in a number of other sectors, racing related and non:

“Hybrid technology is playing an ever-increasing role in both our racing programs and the production vehicles created by Honda and Acura, This is exciting new technology and, like all things new, has presented challenges to us at HRC as we have stepped in with our competitors to help INDYCAR make the hybrid system compact enough, powerful enough, light enough and reliable enough to work within the highly-restricted confines of an INDYCAR chassis.

“We are proud of our associates’ work to develop the supercapacitor pack and control software for the system. We look forward to hybrid tech adding another dimension to the great racing spectacle and entertaining our great Honda and INDYCAR racing fans,” he concluded.