Hybrid testing at IMS

Testing of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ new hybrid unit expanded last week to include six more teams, with continued progress made in development and refinement March 28-30 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Turning laps for the first time with the hybrid system that will debut later this season, after the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, were AJ Foyt Racing (Santino Ferrucci, Sting Ray Robb), Dale Coyne Racing (Jack Harvey, Nolan Siegel), Ed Carpenter Racing (Christian Rasmussen, Rinus VeeKay), Juncos Hollinger Racing (Agustin Canapino, Romain Grosjean), Meyer Shank Racing (Tom Blomqvist, Felix Rosenqvist) and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Pietro Fittipaldi, Christian Lundgaard, Graham Rahal).

The six teams and 13 drivers combined to turn 988 laps (2,409.8) miles on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at IMS, which will host the Sonsio Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES race Saturday, May 11.

INDYCAR’s hybrid power unit, a collaboration between Chevrolet and Honda, will enhance the racing action with additional horsepower and further the series’ efforts to deliver the most competitive motorsport on the planet. The new 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with hybrid technology will feature additional overtake (“push-to-pass”) options, ultimately giving INDYCAR SERIES drivers more choices and control – enhancing the on-track competition and excitement.

“Solid first day in the new hybrid,” Graham Rahal wrote on X. “Can’t wait to come back and have a go on the oval here in a couple weeks!”

Hybrid testing will resume in June, but an Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Open Test/Rookie Orientation Program-Refresher Test with the current series powertrain technology is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 11 on the 2.5-mile IMS oval.

Other Teams Stay Busy at IMS

Andretti Global and Team Penske are two of the four teams that already have helped develop the new hybrid system (along with Arrow McLaren and Chip Ganassi Racing), but they took the opportunity last week to test on the IMS road course with the current engine and drivetrain technology to prepare for the Sonsio Grand Prix on Saturday, May 11.

2022 Sonsio Grand Prix winner Colton Herta was the quickest of the three Andretti Global drivers testing Friday, as he looks to add another victory in his No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Teammates Kyle Kirkwood and Marcus Ericsson both trailed Herta by about two-tenths of a second as the Andretti teammates combined to turn 258 laps.

On Saturday, three-time Sonsio Grand Prix winner Will Power showed yet again why the IMS road course is one of his best tracks, leading the three Team Penske drivers on track. Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden was second in the Penske stable, about two-tenths of a second back, while Scott McLaughlin trailed Power by about four-tenths.

Noteworthy Saturday was the performance of VeeKay, who switched from hybrid to current-spec testing and ended up second quickest, sandwiched between Power and Newgarden. VeeKay also was about two-tenths behind Power.

This continues a solid start to the season so far for the Dutchman, who is in his fifth season with Ed Carpenter Racing. VeeKay qualified seventh and finished 10th in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, and he was 10th overall in the Open Test last month at The Thermal Club .

Rookies Pass First Oval Step

Three NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers cleared an important hurdle Wednesday, March 27, completing their rookie oval tests at Texas Motor Speedway.

Christian Rasmussen of Ed Carpenter Racing, Nolan Siegel of Dale Coyne Racing and Kyffin Simpson of Chip Ganassi Racing each experienced high speeds in NTT INDYCAR SERIES machinery on the 1.5-mile high-banked oval. They combined to turn 409 laps, with Simpson the busiest at 146 laps.

All three drivers are eligible to compete in NTT INDYCAR SERIES oval events this season at Iowa Speedway, World Wide Technology Raceway, Milwaukee Mile and Nashville Superspeedway.

But all three still must complete the traditional, three-phase Rookie Orientation Program on the IMS oval before being eligible to participate in the 108th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in May. ROP is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 on the historic, 2.5-mile oval during the first day of the annual Indianapolis 500 Open Test.