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.
Jett Lawrence wins Pro Motocross opener, remains perfect at Fox Raceway; Hunter wins in 250s
PALA, California – In his 450 bike debut, Jett Lawrence scored a perfect round at Fox Raceway in Pala, California to win Pro Motocross Round 1. He posted the fastest time in both qualification sessions, won the holeshot in both motos, and scored a pair of wins to take the overall victory and the early points’ lead.
No one seriously questioned Lawrence’s opportunity to make noise in the 450 class. Few would have been surprised to see him podium in his Pro Motocross National, but Lawrence outperformed all expectations by dominating Moto 1. He entered the weekend with zero points and his eye on 20th in the standings so he would receive an automatic invitation to the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).
He well surpassed expectations.
“It’s awesome,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “I can finally smile. I’ve been trying to stay serious and not get too excited with emotions coming up – and now I can finally let loose. The second one was a little harder, I couldn’t hear him but I’d look back and I’d still see the red bike. It was like a chess match.”
By the end of the race, Lawrence made up 30 percent of the points he needed to claim 20th and served notice that he will be one of the favorites to win the championship. He closed the gap even further in Moto 2, but the two races had entirely different storylines.
While Lawrence was able to run away from the field in the first race and win with a 10-second advantage, Honda teammate and defending Monster Energy Supercross champion Chase Sexton pressured him for the entire 30 minutes plus two laps that made up Moto 2.
Lawrence is the 16th rider to win in his first Pro Motocross race, the 10th to do so in an opener and second youngest, (behind Rick Johnson, 17 when he won at Hangtown in 1982).
Sexton was within two seconds of Lawrence for the entire moto. He rode a patient race with the realistic expectation that the 450 rookie Lawrence might make a mistake. Lawrence bounced from rut to rut in this race, but would not be forced into losing his focus.
“Toward the finish line area I had some decent lines, I thought maybe, if I could get close enough, I could make a move,” Sexton said. “I tried my hardest; I got close. I made a bit of an attempt with maybe 10 minutes to go and messed up. Jett was obviously riding really good. We were pushing the pace and it was a fun moto. It felt a little like last year.”
With his 1-1 finish and the overall victory, Lawrence remains perfect at Fox Raceway after sweeping Victory Lane in five rounds his 250 career.
Dylan Ferrandis returned to the track after suffering a concussion in the Supercross season in Round 4 in Houston. He attempted to return for the Daytona Supercross race, but another hard crash on Media Day set him on the sideline.
“Earlier this week I was pretty far from a podium position, so got together with the team and we made it happen,” Ferrandis said. “It was very hard. [Aaron Plessinger] was pushing me and I had to dig very deep.”
In a pre-race news conference, he indicated that the best course of action was to get up to speed before he fully sent his bike into the turns. But adrenalin is a wonderful factor and once he got into the pace of the race, he held off charges from Cooper Webb in Moto 1 and Plessinger in Moto 2. Ferrandis’ 3-3 finishes in the two races earned 40 points and puts him back in the conversation to be among the top 20 in the combined SuperMotocross standings.
Plessinger and Webb each ended the day with 34 points. Plessinger won the tiebreaker for fifth overall in the standings. But it was an adventurous afternoon for Plessinger who had to overcome a pair of falls in the first Moto to finish fifth.
Round 1 of the Pro Motocross season marked the return of Webb after he suffered a Supercross series ending concussion in a heat race at Nashville.
“This was a last minute decision,” Webb said. “I sat out last summer and I didn’t want to do that again. Once I got cleared from the doctor, it was game on.”
The battle between Lawrence and Sexton gave Honda a 1-2 finish in this race for the second straight year, but perhaps most importantly, it provided a glimpse of what can be expected during the opening rounds.
I think there is more to come from Chase,” Lawrence said. “He had that crash in practice so it rung his head a bit, but I know it’s going to be a war in the outdoor season. I know there’s going to be times when I’m behind Chase and can’t get around him. It’s going to be an awesome season and I can’t wait to race my teammate.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Jett wasn’t the only Lawrence to win Fox Raceway Motocross. Hunter’s win in the 250 class marked the first time in history that brothers won a Motocross National on the same day.
The reigning 250 East Supercross champion scored the overall victory with a third in Moto 1 and a victory in Moto 2. A poor start in the first race forced Lawrence to mount a charge from behind. Riding with discomfort, Lawrence was out of his rhythm early. A spirited battle with Jo Shimoda and Justin Cooper for third through fifth forced him to push through the pain of an injury suffered at the start of the week.
“The start was crucial,” Lawrence said. “I had a massive crash Monday and could barely ride press day for three laps, I was in so much pain. This one goes out to Dr. [Rey Gubernick]. He has magic hands.”
Lawrence’s strong start to Moto 2 put him in a better zone and he pulled an eight-second advantage over the second-place rider.
Haiden Deegan got a taste of the Motocross series last year, but that was all it was: a nibble.
Deegan failed to crack the top 10 in either of two starts and had some questions for himself before the race began. Deegan did not believe there were high expectations placed on him for this race, which is precisely how he described his first Supercross attempt. In that inaugural SX race, he finished fourth and was as surprised as anyone in the field.
Again: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Deegan surprised himself again by finishing second in only his third Motocross National. He finished sixth in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2, giving him a second-place finish overall.
“I’m actually a little surprised,” Deegan said. “A lot of people said I wouldn’t even be close to this. I guess we’re proving people wrong and that’s what we’ve got to do Second place in my first full season. I’m hyped.”
RJ Hampshire made a statement in Moto 1. An entirely new discipline allowed Hampshire to grab an early advantage. But then a poor start to Moto 2 provided an entirely different challenge. Two falls on Lap 1 dropped Hampshire to 39th in the running order.
“I didn’t have a great start and got mayhem in that second corner and went down,” Hampshire said. “Picked [myself] up in last and made some really good passes and then going uphill on the [backstretch], someone got out of whack – took me out and I was dead last again. I didn’t really know if I had a shot at the podium, but I was digging really deep.”
It took half of the race to get back into the points in 20th, but Hampshire kept digging. Passing riders one at a time, he climbed to 11th in Moto 2 and salvaged enough points to give him the third position overall.
Maximus Vohland made a statement of his own by holding off a determined Lawrence on the last two laps. Lawrence was able to pressure Vohland when they were slowed by a lapped rider who fell in front of the battle.
Tom Vialle was in a position to take the final overall podium spot with a solid third-place finish in the second moto. He did everything he could, but Hampshire’s determined charge from the back of the pack was capped off with a two-position advance on the final lap to slide onto the final step of the box.