IndyCar drivers test Push-to-Pass in preparation for new engine package

Indy 500

Courtesy IndyCar Series/Chris Owens)

INDIANAPOLIS – Four IndyCar drivers tested the Push-to-Pass system on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic oval on Friday afternoon as the series develops a new engine package.

The new 2.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engines will debut in 2023 and feature hybrid technology.

Drivers use Push-to-Pass on street and road courses for a short horsepower boost to pass slower cars. The technology hasn’t been used on ovals, but may be utilized with the changing package.

The new power plants will have the capability of supplying 100-horsepower of boost.

Six-time IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon and 2106 Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi participated in the test for Honda, while two-time series champ Josef Newgarden and last year’s Indy 500 rookie of the year Pato O’Ward took part for Chevrolet.

The drivers ran in a pack in 20-lap choreographed stints for a little over two hours under cool and cloudy conditions.

“With the transition to hybrid, I think the NTT IndyCar Series wants to understand how you can apply this technology,” Dixon said. “How’s it going to work on track, how can it make racing better, how can it be applied in different areas, so today was just seeing how you can apply it on a superspeedway.”

“The goal is to always push the limits,” said Newgarden. “It’s what we do in IndyCar racing. We’re pushing the limits of man and machine. It’s really performing due diligence to make sure we are on the right track and making the right decisions, so that we can introduce faster cars, but in a safer manner. That’s what today is all about.”

Friday’s track time was a welcomed addition for the drivers as they wait for their season to begin after COVID-19 delayed its usual March start date on the streets of St. Petersburg.

“Usually in February, you’re up to speed and then early March you’re already in St. Pete and once things start going you just feel like you’re in it,” Pato O’Ward said. “But we’re starting April soon and we’re still not racing, so I feel like everybody’s just anxious to start. We’re just all ready to get racing, man.”

“I’m thrilled to put last year behind us and start fresh again,” said Alexander Rossi. “I’m confident with the team and what we have on the 27 side of the garage. Hopefully, it all comes up roses here in a couple of weeks.”

The IndyCar Series will begin this season at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on April 18.

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