INDYCAR CEO Miles stresses new engines are ‘hybrid’ not ‘electric’

INDYCAR Photo by Chris Owens
INDYCAR Photo by Chris Owens
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Just to be clear, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles doesn’t want any misconception regarding the new engine formula for the NTT IndyCar Series that will begin competition in 2022.

The new engine platform will be “Hybrid” not “Electric.”

The engine itself will be an internal combustion engine with “hybrid technology” that will be a renewable source of power generated from the car’s braking system. That extra power will be utilized in a hybrid component that will allow the cars in excess of 900 horsepower with a much bigger boost in the “Push to Pass” system.

Ever since INDYCAR made the announcement on July 31 that a Hybrid engine platform would be used in the series beginning in 2022, some race fans jumped to the conclusion that it was an “electric engine.”

That conclusion is completely inaccurate.

“It’s pretty simple — we are committed to louder and faster,” Miles told NBC Sports.com. “This is not Formula E racing.

“This gives us more power. It’s going to be very exciting for the drivers when they hit push-to-pass to get 900 horsepower. It’s going to be safer and provide for more continuity in the racing where if a car stalls out on the track instead of disrupting the racing, the new starter should be able to get them going again without disrupting with a delay.

“What’s not to like? If the technology is interesting to current manufacturers, it is true to our current form of racing but adds a couple of attributes to power and safety.

“I think (INDYCAR President) Jay Frye has tested the idea with not only Honda and Chevrolet, but with other prospects before coming to the conclusion this it is the thing to do.”

By adding hybrid technology to the new powerplant, it helps INDYCAR remain relevant with the desires and needs of the automotive industry. Manufacturers often use INDYCAR as a testing platform for electronic components, brake systems and other components that can provide technology transfer into the consumer automotive marketplace.

By delaying a new engine platform from 2021 to 2022, it gives current engine partners Honda and Chevrolet time to develop and test the new formula. Also, of importance, it gives other prospective automotive manufacturers a chance to decide if they want to participate in the series.

Such automotive manufacturers as Porsche have said in the past, they are focused on Hybrid engine technology and electrification. With INDYCAR moving to Hybrid, other manufacturers might have some interest.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all that they picked this moment in time to get involved if they pop in one more manufacturer,” NTT IndyCar Series and IMSA Sports Car team owner Michael Shank told NBC Sports.com. “I’m hoping it makes a difference. From Honda and Acura, it makes a big difference. I believe it does for most manufacturers.

“I don’t know what the net gain will be from all of that but I’m hoping we get another manufacturer in there.”

Shank runs the Acura NSX effort in IMSA and was asked by NBC Sports how far away is full electric racing for either IMSA or IndyCar?

“Less than 10 years, probably,” Shank said. “I don’t know that for a fact. INDYCAR wants us to be ‘Loud and Fast’ and that tells me they don’t want to move away from the (internal combustion) power units. I hope they don’t because I’m older school.

“Our world is electric. That is our world. I’m getting my head around it and I’m getting my engineers to really dig into it and be prepared on the IndyCar side and the sports car side. It’s coming there, too.”

Meantime, when it comes to INDYCAR, as Miles stressed, it’s “Hybrid” not “Electric” coming in 2022.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III