Honda, INDYCAR Unveil New Hybrid Energy Recovery System for Racing

Indianapolis 500 Carb Day

Courtesy Photos Honda Racing Corporation

Written from press release

Santa Clarita, CA (July 1, 2024) — In a pioneering move towards sustainability and innovation in motorsports, Honda Racing Corporation USA and INDYCAR have introduced the new Energy Recovery System (ERS) for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The ERS will make its competitive debut at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, presented by the 2025 Civic Hybrid, on July 7.

The ERS marks a significant step in the evolution of racing technology, integrating hybrid capabilities with the existing 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine to produce up to an additional 60 horsepower. This hybrid system will be housed within the bell housing area of the car, ensuring compatibility with the current chassis and engine design.

Components and Functionality

The ERS consists of four primary components:

  1. Energy Storage System (ESS): Produced by Honda Racing Corporation USA, the ESS utilizes 20 supercapacitors designed by Skeleton to store energy harvested by the Motor Generator Unit (MGU). These supercapacitors enable rapid energy capture and deployment, charging fully in approximately 4.5 seconds.
  2. Motor Generator Unit (MGU): Developed by EMPEL in collaboration with Ilmor, the MGU converts kinetic energy generated during braking into electrical energy, which is then stored in the ESS. The MGU is also linked to the driveshaft, allowing drivers to use the stored energy for additional power.
  3. DC/DC Converter: Manufactured by BrightLoop Converters, this component ensures the correct voltage output from the ESS or MGU to the powertrain, maintaining a 12-volt output.
  4. Voltage Control Device: Serving as a safety feature, this device ensures the system voltage never exceeds 60 volts.

The ERS integrates with the existing McLaren Applied TAG-400i ECU, utilizing software to synchronize with engines from Honda and other manufacturers.

On-Track Performance

The ERS captures energy during braking, storing it in the supercapacitors. Drivers can deploy this energy via a button on the steering wheel, adding up to 60 horsepower to the car. The system includes both automatic and manual regeneration modes, allowing drivers to control energy harvesting and deployment.

In addition to performance enhancements, the ERS can restart a stalled car without external assistance, reducing the need for yellow and red flag periods and enhancing on-track safety.

Technical Specifications

  • The ERS adds 42.5 kilograms to the car’s weight.
  • It can be charged from a 12-volt source, both in the shop and on pit lane.
  • The MGU operates at a maximum of 12,000 RPM.
  • The ESS operates at a maximum voltage of 60 volts and 2,000 amps, with the ability to fully charge or discharge in 4.5 seconds.
  • Drivers can manage the state of charge between 60 and 30 volts, ensuring reserve power for engine restarts.

The introduction of the ERS aligns INDYCAR with Honda’s broader commitment to hybrid technology, as seen in the hybrid models of the Civic, Accord, and CR-V.

Looking Ahead

The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will showcase the new hybrid system’s capabilities, setting the stage for a new era of electrified racing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Fans can watch the race on July 7 at 1:30 PM ET on NBC.

For further details on the INDYCAR Energy Recovery System, visit the HRC US YouTube channel and watch “The INDYCAR Hybrid Tech Series, Episode 1: Getting to Know the INDYCAR Hybrid System.”

About Honda Racing Corporation USA

Honda Racing Corporation USA, established in 1993, specializes in high-performance racing programs, supporting both professional and amateur racers. The company designs and develops powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts, and provides technical support across a range of racing styles. Renamed from Honda Performance Development in 2024, HRC US leads Honda’s global racing efforts.

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