NTT IndyCar Series president Jay Frye sounded like a proud father at the end of the three-day test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, where Chevrolet and Honda hit the track with their new 2024 engines.
The full measure of Frye’s ‘Fast and Loud’ dreams for the hybrid engine package will need to wait until the energy recovery systems made by MAHLE arrive in a few months, but after the first track test of the 800hp 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6s finished with nothing but positive conclusions offered by both manufacturers, he was pleased with the outcome.
“This has been a long time coming,” Frye told RACER. “Obviously, we’ve been working on this for a long time, and I think it’s just absolutely spectacular and amazing that the only hiccup over the last three days was basically the cold weather the first two days. And to run as much as they ran without dramas, huge kudos to Chevrolet and Honda. It felt like we could go race these engines tomorrow. It felt that good, right out of the box, which is just absolutely spectacular.”
With consistent supply chain issues causing the delay of the ERS units and other key components associated with the 2.4-liter motors, IndyCar recently pushed the timeline of introduction from 2023 to 2024, giving Chevy and Honda ample time to test and develop their new and more powerful engines in the background while the current 2.2-liter motors are pressed into extended service. Despite the delay, IndyCar did not want to stand in the way of the brands’ desire to commence track testing nearly two years before the motors will make their official competition debut.
“Great effort by everybody at Chevrolet and Honda to get it to this point, and since we’ve got some time now, we’re just going to see them make it better and better and better,” Frye said. “But you always have the first test to get through and see how that goes. And these last three days… from our perspective, everything we saw was hugely successful.”
Frye also liked what he heard from the angrier 2.4-liter engines.
“We’ve always talked about this new formula being fast and loud, and it definitely feels like a there’s little more growl to it; you could definitely hear it,” he said. “It’s obviously going to be thrilling to see many cars out there at the same time running together. But it definitely has a more robust sound.”
According to Frye, next on the to-do list is determining when and where the next 2024 engine test will take place.
“Like always, you’ve got all this data to go back through, assess and evaluate things, and they’ll come back to us and tell us when they’re ready to do more miles,” he said.
With plenty of downtime between test runs, Frye and his IndyCar team also introduced another first as the new EM Marshaling light system was installed on the road course and underwent its initial tests by the series. More testing of the system is expected on Thursday, and if all goes according to plan, it could see its in-race debut during May’s Indy road course event.