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IndyCar to Use Turbos in 2011

Indystar.com. Indy-car racing will switch from naturally-aspirated V-8 engines to turbocharged engines in 2011. The plan will be shared with industry executives during a meeting next month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The decision left to be made centers on engine size. Two are being considered, [IRL president Brian] Barnhart said. Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development, said the debate “is over four (cylinders) or six.” “But both of them include turbos,” Barnhart said. “One of them includes twin turbos.”

The league hopes to announce specifications in December so manufacturers have two years to design, build, test and mass produce the engines. Barnhart said potential IRL manufacturers want to have technology that can be used in other forms of auto racing and “is relevant to their consumer products.” That points to six-cylinder engines since that is where most manufacturers are focused with their passenger cars.

IndyCars currently run on 100% ethanol; Honda is the sole engine provider. (Earlier post.) For the 2008 season, the cars are using a 3.5-liter engine (213.6 cid) for longer engine life between rebuilds and additional mid-range torque for the varied IndyCar Series schedule.



Wow.This is the most excited I've been about racing in.... ever.

I'm curious what the boost limit would be. A twin sequential turbo on a 2L I4 making somewhere near 700bhp would be pretty damn cool.

IMO, Honda will push for an I4 to increase its acceptance as a "performance capable" engine. Then again, that might be the goal with the V6...


Well, after destroying the competition (CART) they are going to use the same type of engine CART used (turbo V-8) all along.


man their engines are going to sound so awesome... now we just need some ultracaps to get that crazy WHURRR when they are braking for the next apex!

Travis Rassat


Talking about the boost limit, one of the reasons I saw for the push for turbos was because the IRL could regulate the boost depending on the track type. I thought that was an interesting concept.

Another interesting thing going on is that there are a lot of manufacturers interested in getting involved in the series. About 2 months ago they had a closed-door meeting, but reports indicate there were around 14 different manufacturers represented, including Honda, of course.


I thoght that four-cylinder engines are in most widespread use globally... why go after 6?


So we come full circle....

Bring back the "Offy" already, it had variats with turbo's just make it DI.

I think they should add a bit of Brock Yates common sense to these things. Make them run Street Tires, Batteries, and Fuel. If they want to improve the breed then improve what we are using now.

Want to let them try hybrid/regen braking, go for it. Get rid of the wings ansd let them experiment with underside aerodynamics only. It is one area production cars need more work in.


It won't be an in-line 4. Indy cars use the engine as a stressed chassis member, and the (tall and narrow)in-line configuration does not work well for such an application.

Using an in-line engine in an Indy car chassis would require supplemental structures to carry the torsional loads from the tub, around the engine block, and back to the stressed transaxle housing. It's a clumsy solution at best. The "V" type engine configuration works much better. Plus it has a much more appealing exhaust sound.

Besides, the Atlantic feeder series uses in-line 4's. So an I4 Indy car would appear a little, shall we say, low budget........



I like your ideas about aerodynamics but what you suggest would have an enormous (negative) impact on lap times. Moving to a smaller engine might end up being of some benefit.


Good call there. I never would have known.


It will be interesting to see what happens to the "fuel economy" of Indy cars with the implementation of downsizing and turbocharging.



Any reason the design you mention (wherin the engine block becomes an integral part of the body) couldn't be applied to an LDV (think sports car)? Is the longevity of the body compromised?

Seems like a very efficient design in regards to material usage.


F1 ran 1.5 L, 4-cylinder and V6 turbo engines in the eighties.


The BMW 1500HP L4 turbo one qualy lap special was cool!


"Get rid of the wings ansd let them experiment with underside aerodynamics only."

this was tried in F1 in the 70's. problem is if you hit a bump the suction effect under the car is lost and the car becomes unstable and uncontrollable. look up Lotus 78/79/80/86/88.

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