Anytime a racing series makes changes to its engines, fans become skeptical, especially when engines become hybrids. What are they going to sound like? Will they have the same excitement as previous engines? These are understandable concerns for faithful fans of the sport. For IndyCar fans, the worry has been that the new V6 hybrid powertrain would sound worse than before, or somehow be less exciting. After see this new video from Racer, though, that doesn't seem to be the case.
The hybrid powertrain that will be used in IndyCar in 2024 isn't actually all that new. While IndyCar originally planned to switch to an all-new 2.4-liter hybrid V6, it scrapped the larger engine and instead decided to hybridize the current twin-turbo 2.2-liter V6s from Honda and Chevy. So the engine itself isn't actually changing, it's just getting a new hybrid boost, for the push-to-pass system, so it doesn't really sound any different.
In the video, you can hear the new hybrid powertrain, as cars were tested at Sebring ahead of the 2024 season. Since the V6 is the same, and the hybrid system changes neither the intake nor exhaust, the cars sound exactly the same. They still have that V6 growl that fans are used to. It isn't the most thrilling of motorsport sounds but it sounds raw and mechanical, as if you can hear the engine's metal bits flying around from the forces of internal combustion.
So what's the point of going hybrid if the engines don't really change much, in terms of sound and fan experience? Since the engines now get assistance from a motor generator unit (MGU), which is powered by a super-capacitor in the gearbox housing, 2024 IndyCars will get a far more effective push-to-pass system. Rather than the 60 horsepower from the current push-to-pass system, 2024 IndyCars will get 150 horsepower.
That added power could make races far more interesting come next season, as push-to-pass might become a much more valuable tool at drivers' disposal. So not only does the new hybrid powertrain not take anything away from IndyCar, its added power should actually bring more excitement.
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