It seems more and more major motorsports events are switching to hybrid powertrains. After the World Rally Championship (WRC) announced their shift to hybrid powertrains in 2022 earlier this year, now the open-wheel IndyCar race series has also joined in and will introduce hybrid race cars starting in the 2022 season. Honda, one of the two engine suppliers in the series, has welcomed IndyCar’s engine change to electrification.

“Racing has long been a crucible for the development of new technologies and people at Honda and this direction will enable us to promote technology through racing that is essential to the future of our automobile business. At the same time, the immediate response delivered by an electrified powertrain will improve vehicle performance for our IndyCar drivers and the quality of the competitive show for our great fans,” said Ted Klaus, president of Honda Performance Development.

At the moment, IndyCar engines currently have an output of around 550 to 700 horsepower. With the addition of the hybrid system, the output is expected to significantly rise to around 900 horsepower or more.

Honda has not detailed how it plans to go about building the hybrid IndyCar powertrain just yet. However, do remember that the Japanese company is no stranger to hybrid systems as it currently powers the RedBull Racing Formula 1 car. At the same time, it also parallels the manufacturer’s decision to electrify most of its upcoming vehicle model lineup.

“The addition of hybrid power to Indycar parallels our own decision to reduce CO2 emissions by adding hybrid-electric systems across our entire Honda model lineup. For our customers, it's about making environmentally responsible vehicles that people enjoy driving, and in a similar way, adding hybrid power to our Indycar formula will make the racing even more enjoyable for our fans,” said Klaus.

Per IndyCar regulations, the hybrid powertrain will consist of a multi-phase generator, inverter and an electric storage device to recover energy from braking. As it is already electric, IndyCars will also no longer use manual electric starters.

The new engine regulations will be in place from 2022 to 2027 and will coincide with the launch of a new-generation chassis.