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IndyCar Series Switches to 6-Cylinder Engines for 2012; Series to Explore Energy Recovery, Hybridization and Other Technologies

On the heels of the Indianapolis 500 last weekend, the IZOD IndyCar Series has released a new engine strategy that reflects the downsizing trend in the larger commercial market. The new engine platform, which will debut in 2012, will allow manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders as well as maximum displacement of 2.4 cubic liters. All cars in the 2010 Indy Series are using 100% ethanol-fueled Honda Indy HI10R normally-aspirated V-8 engines, with 3.5L displacement.

The IZOD IndyCar Series will also explore new and relevant technologies to incorporate into the engine such as energy recovery, hybridization, fuel conservation and other emerging technologies to reduce fuel consumption.

The new generation of ethanol-fueled engines will produce between 550 and 700 hp (410 to 522 kW) to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes and will be turbocharged to allow for flexibility in power.

The new engine strategy is based on a recommendation from the ICONIC (Innovative, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Advisory Committee and is intended to produce a next generation of engines that are more powerful and efficient than the current formula, as well as being relevant to the public and the auto industry.

The new engine strategy will require that the IZOD IndyCar Series adopt rules that can accommodate various engine architectures.

We will continue to evaluate rules that will keep a level playing field across the board with the various engines that could enter our sport. For example, we could see a V-6 competing against an Inline 4 at all IZOD IndyCar Series events in the future. We will require reference engines as a benchmark in performance while looking at sonic air restrictors, fuel flow restrictions and more as key criteria for competition.

—Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations

The ICONIC Advisory Committee is also tasked with reviewing, researching and making a recommendation to the league on the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series engine and chassis. The league plans to have a decision on its chassis by 30 June.


Sanity Chk

"Cubic Liters"? How about just liters?

the doctor

I wonder what other F1 advances they can copy? Realistically,losses of sponsorship make it doubtful they can continue much longer.


Ha, maybe "Cubic Liters" is for those not stuck in a mere 3 dimentions.

Sanity Chk

Toppa, good point, although I don't know if I can get a grip on extra-dimensional displacement.

However. . . if one could design a 2.4 cubic liter engine with quantum entanglement properties, it might reach the finish line before it started - making pretty short work of a 500 mile race :-]


Of course, unless after they timed it, they couldn't find it.


Racing became boring as soon as the cars stopped being amazing.


Since liters are already 3 dimensional, and they are cubing them....does that make this 27 dimensions???

Sanity Chk

I was thinking perhaps 9. Most string theories allow for up to 11 dimensions but hey, the more the merrier!

I think the real sign that racing has become a tiresome spectator sport is that people can't wait to see the crashes. I'm sure that the drivers find racing rather exhilarating.


For those of us that do it on a regular basis there is nothing better.Any game you don't play or understand is not much fun to watch.

Sanity Chk

Fair enough, but I want to see Indy and NASCAR move toward carbon neutrality.


Forget nascar ,they are afraid that any new technology will make it too expensive for Joe Bob to compete .Just a totaly different mindset there. Maybe they will swich to fuel injection in ten years or so..


Yes, I'm a big racing fan for the American Le Mans Series because they allow for new technology and try to use things that will be relevant in the real world...at least possibly one day. It's fun to see which ones will provide real advantages, yet hard because they try to artificially handicap each tech to make them all equal. LOL

I wish they'd be more open about which ones have to be handicapped the most to allow the others to compete...then we'd know what was really working!

I enjoyed watching F1 last year when they had the KERS systems and I hear it may be back next year for all the teams.

I'm still looking for the day that an all electric series springs up. I think the tech is far enough along to allow for them to at least do those 30-40 mile sprint races now.

NASCAR??? I just don't get the whole thing with a bunch of billy-bob's riding around in circles with 1950's technology. My family all loves it...but they're a huge bunch of rednecks. Sorry, but facts are facts LOL

the doctor

Yup, American LeMans will outlast Indy because it is true racing.At indy you have one motor, one chassis and one tire manufacturer, you might as well be racing at a gokart rental yard. The Le Mans you have 3 classes running together at different speeds and cornering ability, and within each class there are different engines, chassis and bodies. There is true competition at all levels while Indy is just copycat cars with predictable outcomes.
If you want indy to be relevant, restrict fuel to 80% of what it takes for a race now, and let them use whatever engine, chassis, body, etc to get to 500 miles.Thats where technology would get developed! the downside is that the racing teams cant afford any real development. the whole series is worth less than what Ferrari paid in fines for cheating. It would force teams to ally with colleges for engineering and test support....


The stupid part is that there are plenty of things they could do that would make racing develop technology that would help us in every day driving.

They keep putting "restrictor plates" or making cars add weight, etc so that they will be safer for the drivers by not going too fast. Hell, back in the 60's or 70's, one of the Porsches was doing 238mph down the back straight at Le Mans. I can see why they were worried about drivers getting killed at those speeds.

Instead of putting restrictions to slow them down, give them less fuel and let them see how fast they could go while being efficient. It would be about the same results in overall speed reduction (for safety) if you adjusted the fuel accordingly. Why slow them down by hampering the cars existing tech? And this way you would encourage inovation that could save energy and trickle down to the rest of us.


I have to agree with both the doctor and Dave: Restrict the amount of fuel each team gets to use in a race.

BTW I first heard that idea 30 years ago!

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