After it went through several different iterations last year, IndyCar’s “push-to-pass” overtake assist system will be standardized for 2013, starting this weekend at St. Petersburg.
The system itself allows for a turbocharger boost from 21.7 Psi to 23.2 Psi and additional 200 RPM with the push of a button located on the steering wheel.
Drivers will have 10 total pushes to use at their discretion on all road and street course venues this season. At St. Petersburg this weekend, along with Detroit, Sonoma, Baltimore and Houston, each push will last 15 seconds, for a total of 150 seconds available throughout the race.
The remaining road and street circuits (Barber, Long Beach, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Mid-Ohio) all have at least one longer straight than the other five, and as such have longer push-to-pass time available. Those races will still have 10 pushes but each will last 20 seconds, for a total of 200.
In the past, drivers could use it both in offensive or defensive mode; a leading driver might, for instance, use his or her system at the same time as someone behind them hits theirs. But according to IndyCar vp of technology Will Phillips, that’s not necessarily going to be the case this season.
“If the driver chooses to use one, they can’t cancel it. It’s use it or lose it,” he said. “That in itself makes it more difficult to choose to use as a defense mechanism rather than as an overtaking opportunity. You’ll have to be careful because there are only 10 opportunities to use it during a race. The length of each push of the button should cover the longest straight, if that’s where they choose to use it, of each circuit.”
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”