A Push To Pass

As reported in several places, the IndyCar Series will adopt a ‘Push to Pass’ system this weekend and for the remainder of the year. This system will provide a horsepower boost for a duration of 12 seconds per button-press. The amount of extra hp will depend on the fuel mixture setting selected (there are several preselected settings from full rich all the way to full lean, to save fuel, and a yellow flag setting). A fully rich setting will gain just 5hp while a leaner setting will benefit from up to 20hp.

These are not big gains. The Senior Technical Director of the IRL said the small amounts were due to the fact these are normally-aspirated engines which are already near their full potential, unlike Champ Car turbos which only needed a boost level change to get big hp gains. Perhaps he’s inferring that the A1GP engines are somewhat detuned under normal conditions, considering they get a rather larger bump from their normally-aspirated P2P…

What is very interesting about this development is that it is being introduced on an oval. No variant of P2P has ever been used on an oval, to the best of my knowledge, since Champ Car had stopped racing on them by the time their system was implemented. On an oval the horsepower and car setup are everything. Perhaps even just this small difference will be enough to create close racing? Maybe less so on the shorter tracks, but at those where their foot is on the bulkhead all the way round, definitely.

I am much more sceptical on the road and street courses where I really don’t think it’ll make an ounce of difference, the jump in power just isn’t enough for those tracks.

What is interesting is a tweet from Allen from The Furious Wedge. He mentioned another change that has been lost among the hoopla about P2P – the removal of the ‘wicker bill’ from the rear wing (as well as the general freeing-up of the aero regs). The wicker bill is a part on the trailing edge of the rear wing which creates drag. I’m not entirely sure why they are there, perhaps in a previous evolution of the aero package they helped the racing but it seems the reverse is true now, for whatever reason.

Let’s hope these changes improve the racing which has reportedly been dire this season. I’ve not really been able to see much of this year but I have recordings which I will watch over the coming weeks.

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3 thoughts on “A Push To Pass”

  1. If you listen to A1GP engines, they certainly sound detuned.Something has to be done with the IRL on ovals – they have legislated the cars to become too identical – why don't they free up what the engineers can adjust so at least there's a chance of a performance differential between the cars?Oh and while you're at it, get rid of the fuel mix knob – drivers should be racing, not performing conservation runs!

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  2. I'm not 100% positive, but I believe the wicker was a speed issue. Only served to slow the car down, as well as break up air behind it. Keep in mind in late 90s early 2000s that they felt the cars were running a little too much downforce and too close together as it resembled something a little more like NASCAR pack racing and caused a lot of wrecks.It seems now that they've simply implemented too many things. Of the 5 things we've changed for Kentucky, the wicker removal is the one I like the best because it will improve drafting and being able to run close. It seemed clear this year so far that cars just got too unstable when they broke the racing line.

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  3. Gavin, I they've done that to some extent this week at Kentucky.Allen, thanks. I suppose with other changes to the cars the wickers may not be needed and so can be removed to create cleaner air.

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