Honda’s Out of F1, But Not Indy as it and Chevy Resign from 2023

Chevy will continue to compete with Honda in IndyCar as the two engine manufacturers have agreed to a multi-year extension of their contracts. Starting in 2023, the manufacturers will supply 2.4-liter V6 units to the open-wheel series. 

That will be a jump up from the current regulations, which mandate a 2.2-liter engine. The power will also get a bump, going from 550-700 hp in the current generation, up to 900 hp for 2023.

The announcement is hardly a surprise but does follow shortly after Honda announced its exit from Formula 1, another open-wheel racing series powered by turbocharged V6s. Those engines are capped at 1.6 liters, though thanks to a hybrid drive system, the engines can make more than 1,000 hp.

The fourth-generation engine will introduce hybrid power to the Indycar series featuring a multi-phase motor and regenerative braking—not unlike in F1. That’s curious because Honda defended its exit from the European sport not on economic grounds, but instead as a way to focus its resources on developing alternative energy programs—something it has signed up to do with GM.

As for its decision to stay in IndyCar, Ted Klaus, president of Honda Performance Development said this:

“Honda welcomes this step to the future by IndyCar, action that mirrors Honda’s efforts to develop and manufacture high performance, electrified products that will meet industry challenges and delight our customers.”

Mark Reuss, president of GM, was also excited about IndyCar’s move to hybrid powertrains.

“We are thrilled to be moving forward with IndyCar because it’s the perfect showcase for our engine technology, in the only open-wheel racing series in America, a high-tech, growing series that Roger Penske and his team are absolutely taking to the next level,” he said.

Along with giving the car a bump in power, the hybrid systems will also mean that the cars can start themselves, rather than requiring the team to start the cars with a handheld starter. That means that a car doesn’t have to be in the pits to be restarted.

With both manufacturers looking more toward fully-electric vehicles, rather than hybrids, the question of just how many more contract extensions will happen remains to be seen.

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