IndyCar Drops Plans for New Engine

Instead, IndyCar suppliers Chevrolet and Honda will electrify their long-running V-6s.

new indycar engine
Honda Performance Development

After spending millions on development and testing, IndyCar has dropped plans for a new 2.4-liter V-6 engine, originally set to launch in 2024. Instead, the existing 2.2-liter V-6s from Chevrolet and Honda will be hybridized with electric power.

As R&T contributor Marshall Pruett explains for Racer, the 2.4-liter hybrid plan was contingent on IndyCar wooing a new engine supplier to join Chevy and Honda for 2024. While the series held talks with many automakers, no takers materialized. That meant Chevy and Honda would bear much of the cost to develop a new engine and its hybrid system. The two suppliers told Indycar that if plans for the 2.4-liter went ahead, each supplier only had the budget to fulfill 12 engine lease deals.

This limited capacity to supply engines would represent a significant reduction in full-time entries for the series, an unacceptable outcome. Neither automaker could offer more money to develop their 2.4s in addition to the spec hybrid system—which has been problematic in and of itself—and supply enough teams. Something had to give. So now, work continues on the hybrid system, albeit paired with a V-6 the IndyCar world has grown quite familiar with.

IndyCar describes the 2.4-liter program as being "paused," though there is no indication if or when these newer engines will replace the old 2.2s. Honda tested the 2.4-liter earlier this year (as seen in the photo at the top of this post) at Indianapolis, and it's using a version of it for the new Acura ARX-06 LMDh car, which is testing today at Daytona, ahead of its debut next month.

There's a huge opportunity for IndyCar's growth, with Roger Penske's ownership of the series, a deeply talented and competitive grid, and open-wheel racing increasing in popularity thanks in large part to Formula 1. Having a smaller full-time field runs counter to IndyCar's goals, but ensuring the grid doesn't shrink means that the series will be relying on old tech, while all the other major race series around the globe embrace the new.

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