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IndyCar tests new hybrid engines on IMS Road Course

IndyCar test out IMS Road Course ahead of May

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Cars were back on the track over at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a three-day test on the road course.

Teams and drivers had the chance to get on the track before May 11’s Sonsio Grand Prix, but it also served as a test for the new hybrid engines coming to IndyCar.

The 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with hybrid technology is set to make its debut after the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May. The new engines will bring over 100 more horsepower as the drivers will pair the traditional ‘push-to-pass’ with the hybrid’s new powerplant unit.

It will also add in another level of strategy, as teams will have to balance fuel use and saving with the hybrid’s capability of regenerating and building energy, which will be stored in the ultracapacitor Energy Storage System.

So far, there’s been mixed reviews from drivers. Even so, the teams know any time spent testing something new is time well spent before the equipment hits the track.

“Right now, it’s fun because there’s no pressure here today, but going into a race weekend when you know it’s going to play a role in qualifying because you know you can use it every lap, I think it’s going to be pretty interesting,” Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Graham Rahal said after his test Thursday. “Right now, there’s not a lot of stress to it. For sure, this is going to become a science, and whoever maximizes that stuff the best I think is going to have a lot of success early on.”

The new system has been a big adjustment for a lot of drivers.

“There’s just a lot more buttons that I need to press and a lot more stuff that I need to go through,” said Rinus Veekay, who drives for Ed Carpenter Racing. “Usually, I have a clue and know what we are doing, but this is all new and I’m still learning. I hate that I can’t give the team much feedback of what we need to do.”

IndyCar’s next race will be April 21 with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden is so far the sole race winner in this year’s championship after opening the season with the checkered flag in St. Petersburg.