IndyCar’s 2024 Hybrid System Could Shine Brightest On Ovals

Photo:  Chris Owens / Penske Entertainment
Photo: Chris Owens / Penske Entertainment

The notion that racing hybrids need regenerative braking to keep their batteries topped off led many to immediately discount the usefulness of similar systems for IndyCar oval racing with little to no braking on track. However, Honda believes the opposite will be true when hybrid systems are finally introduced to the IndyCar Series in 2024. reported that Honda Performance Development (HPD), the automaker’s American motorsport division, has found that the spec Mahle-built hybrid units are most capable on ovals through the system’s development. HPD President David Salters told the outlet:

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“The original discussion was ‘we’re not sure you can actually use this on an oval’ but it might turn out where it’s the most effective. We’ll see. I think we might end up with some unintended cool stuff.”

“You tend to draft a lot on ovals, and the car in front makes the hole in the air, so maybe you want to be clever, so it actually gives you much more control. We don’t really want pack racing, we want more overtaking, but with the electrical stuff you can recover here, then you can do what you want.”

“We want to give more [control] to the drivers, so they can do some different stuff to use it. There are places on ovals where you save energy, and then you can redeploy it, so maybe you use the smarts of the driver over when to do that.”