CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY OVAL
END OF DAY REPORT
October 13, 2023
- Will Power, of Team Penske, and David Malukas, of Arrow McLaren, represented Chevrolet amongst the four cars testing INDYCAR’s 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine with hybrid technology at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday.
- Today’s sessions saw drivers working together during multi-car simulation runs to learn how INDYCAR’s hybrid technology performs in traffic, as well as single-car simulation runs to replicate no-tow laps on the famed superspeedway.
- Manufacturers and teams will continue to work with INDYCAR to test the series’ hybrid technology in the upcoming offseason months.
David Malukas, driver of the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet – Driver Media Availability Transcript:
Q. You’re getting a chance to drive with a team, but you’re also testing a new device. How do you separate and learn from the two?
DAVID MALUKAS: Well, I mean, at the end of the day it’s really good for me. I get to learn new hybrid stuff, get to be a part of the new Arrow McLaren team, get a feeling of the car.
But, yeah, it’s a bit of a challenge trying to figure out this feels different. Is it because of the hybrid changes or because of the new team?
Talking with Rossi and the other driver, just kind of trying to figure out, hey, this is actually something that sounds like a setup of ours compared to something this is new.
Q. After being with Dale Coyne Racing the last couple years, how difficult is it to learn a new environment, new team, personnel, procedures, new everything?
DAVID MALUKAS: Yes, there’s many new people that I feel like we’ve been doing a pretty good job getting to know everybody, getting connections. The way we’ve been doing the structures, it’s been different engineers and performance engineers going to each test. Kind of getting a feel for everybody and making relationships, building chemistry.
The main thing is just trying to get used to all the new tools and resources that I have at hand. Arrow McLaren gives a lot, and I’m just trying to make sure I can use all of it to help on my side of things. It’s been very good.
Q. Who is your crew, your engineer, chief mechanic? Who are the guys?
DAVID MALUKAS: Still undecided. For this test I have Will (Andersen) as my main engineer and Brian as my performance engineer.
Q. Obviously these are important tests for feedback. Going into your third year, does it feel like an honor to be able to give that feedback?
DAVID MALUKAS: Yes, it’s does feel good. Will actually earlier was saying in the car, Have you ever done Firestone testing before? I’m like, No, they don’t like me (laughter).
No, it’s good now. It feels good. They’re trusting me. I can give the feedback. From my side I just get to do laps, more and more laps. At the end of the day the more practice, the better.
Q. How does the hybrid feel to you so far?
DAVID MALUKAS: I find it very good. I’ve been enjoying it. It has more tools for the driver. I feel like it can kind of separate the drivers from the top to the — the best to the worst on when it comes to hybrids. It’s another tool, time to regen, deploy, set up passes. I think it’s going to have a bit of a play here at the 500.
Q. McLaren has so many more resources to do things with from where you came from. How as a driver do you look at that in terms of, ‘Wow, I’ve got all these things now that I didn’t have before?’
DAVID MALUKAS: Exactly. I walked in, and every are corner I look around, I’m like, ‘Whoa. Shining gold, so much stuff’ (laughter).
Coming in, I don’t even know how to use it all. But thankfully they have a good crew. Everybody has been super friendly, introducing everything to me, making me get comfortable. Specifically Tony Kanaan. Tony Kanaan has been showing me the ropes and saying like, Hey, this is how you use this resource, this is what I think you should do, just getting me comfortable on getting used to all these spoiled resources that they keep giving me.
Q. How intrigued were you yesterday with Kyle Larson’s rookie test?
DAVID MALUKAS: It was very good. It was very impressive. He’s all over when it comes to racing. That’s kind of been his motto of trying many different sorts of things. It feels good to see him in Indy. I think it’s going to be good for INDYCAR, it’s going to be good for the 500 and of course Arrow McLaren.
Q. (Question regarding trust and having resources available.)
DAVID MALUKAS: Of course, I mean, yeah, I have really good teammates, (Alexander) Rossi and Pato (O’Ward), who have shown a lot of success in the series. For me to come in and them put me already into their first few hybrid testings, it feels good. It feels like they trust my word, they ask me all the same questions, what I think about the car, the new hybrid stuff.
From a driver’s standpoint, my confidence just goes through the roof. I trust them, they trust me. I know going into next season we’re going to do what it takes to get up to the top.
Q. Do you know how many more days in the car you’ll have this off-season between any more manufacturer testing you’re doing or actual private testing?
DAVID MALUKAS: Not a specific number, no. It’s all kind of been still pretty hectic. They’ve already kind of had things scheduled out. I don’t really know myself because I haven’t managed to look, anything from two weeks out.
Q. How much do you perceive tires being a thing? More horsepower is going to be more downforce, a little bit more tire falloff, too. Do you foresee over a stint fuel saving but you have to be cognizant of tires as well?
DAVID MALUKAS: I think so. I mean, it kind of depends. I think we’ll see kind of the end of today once we start doing longer runs, being in traffic, seeing how it’s going to play out.
It all depends on when you want to use that extra power. If you want to save the tire, use it on the straight, not through the corner. You’re kind of saving the tires.
I think it all is going to be a bit of a play. We’ll see.
INDYCAR and Manufacturer Media Availability Transcript:
Q. We haven’t been a part of hybrid testing, but you guys have been doing it for quite a while. If you could walk us through the progress you made since you first started testing.
JAY FRYE: I think, first off we want to thank both of these guys with Chevrolet and Honda (for helping us get) to this point. Today and tomorrow at IMS is actually the final kind of, from a certain perspective, this is our first superspeedway test. Again, great job from everybody at Chevrolet, Honda. So far, so good.
Q. On the oval, because there’s very little braking, how did you come up with the idea of the paddle system?
JAY FRYE: I’ll let these guys (elaborate)…
Q. How did you come up with the idea?
MATT NILES: We had paddles on the car already. Using that for regen seemed like the natural thing to do. We had to do some software trickery to reassign the clutch paddle for use while out on track.
But it seems like it could work, and that’s what we’re trying to figure out here today and tomorrow, is get the drivers out there together and (indiscernible) see if we could get it to work in a pack and add some excitement to the show.
Q. From the Chevrolet perspective?
ROB BUCKNER: Very similar. When we were looking at how we could make this work at a superspeedway, the paddle was a fit for the way the drivers could manage the energy in the system, and out of the system. Kind of plays into the hands of the drivers with how this place historically races. Seems like a good starting point for first couple days here. I think we’re all learning a lot. There’s a lot of details to come on that, but all good so far.
Q. Two months into this, having this 2024 spec out on track, can you talk us through how this is different in basic terms.
MATT NILES: Basically what we’re adding is an energy storage, which uses super capacitors, which is kind of a different thing than you might find in a road car except for a couple extreme examples.
At any rate, we have an energy storage on the car, basically like a battery, but using super capacitors. Then there’s an electric motor. All of that is fit inside the bell housing which is a piece that fits between the engine and the gearbox at the back of the car.
We’re adding in that energy storage and the electric motor, and tying it straight into the drivetrain of the whole vehicle. Then going out here we’re using a paddle, the driver can say, I want to charge up the battery, They push a button and it uses the electric motor to add power to the car. It’s similar at a road course, kind of the same thing. We can use either automatic regeneration or you can have the driver involved pulling the paddle.
From our side, I think we’re just interested in getting involved in different, sustainable technologies out there. Allowing our engineers to develop them and work on them, and then come here to this extreme environment to test them in a race, how that all plays out for the future.
JAY FRYE: It’s quite a packaging marvel. It’s got a lot of horsepower, safe, low voltage. That was something that was important. How that works without batteries or cap backs. High horsepower, all this fits inside the bell housing. Obviously, the packaging on an INDYCAR has to be very small. That’s got to be one of the biggest challenges is the packaging of it into this car.
Q. What are things over the last two months that you have either figured out or finalized of this package? What are you still in the process of learning or deciding on a rules or technical standpoint?
MATT NILES: I think, yeah, we’re pretty set on where we are with the energy storage. I think we’ve been finding out how all these different components survive in this environment. The vibration is unique. Also the temperatures that we deal with. We’ve been learning a lot about that.
But I think going forward, a lot of it is really how we use the system and the parts and pieces we have, and how that’s regulated on track and how the drivers use it, how the engineers interface with it, how we go racing. That’s where we’ve been going through sort of street course at the short course at Sebring. We’ve been running short ovals, road courses, and now we’re here at this hallowed ground to see how it works here.
We just kind of have to go back through all the data, start making some decisions on how we go to St. Pete.
ROB BUCKNER: It’s similar for us; a massive learning curve every time we go testing. It’s a productive day and a new knob to turn in terms of race cars are giant energy balance equations. This is another new factor in that. We found it could change car balance.
The drivers have been enjoying having a different experience in the car beyond what a 2.2 liter package has always been engine-wise. We’ll keep learning and go from there.
Q. How much of this is collaborative and how much is proprietary?
JAY FRYE: It’s great collaboration. That’s one of the things I mentioned to begin with, the way these two have worked together on this project.
We’ve been working at this for some time, obviously. We got to a certain point and we looked to our two car partners to finish the thing off and make it raceable. So, that’s what’s happening. They’ve taken this idea we have collectively had, got it to a certain point, and have the real experts in now to get these things to where we can race them.
Q. Is there room for proprietary innovation?
JAY FRYE: It’s going to be a spec piece, the hybrid part, at this point, yes. The drivers will have a tool that they can use differently. I think that will be something that will separate how that works for the drivers.
Q. Rob and Matt, if you had the spec piece, does it come down to you guys still optimizing the actual 2.2 liter engine that you’ve had for the last decade? Is that where your camps sort of branch off?
MATT NILES: Yeah, I mean, we’re still trying to get more power, squeeze more that we can out of that every year. Then, yeah, I mean, it’s a new piece, it’s a new bit of energy. So even though we kind of all have the same system, there is some differences in how you might use it, how a driver might interface with it. Our engineers are able to, sort of dig, into that and try to figure out the best way to go forward.
Yeah, I mean, like Jay (Frye), you were was saying as far as the collaboration, normally we’re out here, it’s cutthroat, which we love competing out here. We’ve been able to wave the white flag for a bit and get this done, which has been really good.
It’s been a great collaboration.
Q. Is it odd when either of the two of you call each other to talk about the hybrid assist piece because normally I doubt the two of you call each other?
JAY FRYE: There’s weekly calls, daily calls, group calls. We have an IEC – INDYCAR Engine Committee. That’s been another thing that the hybrid part has been another extension of that. They talk a lot.
ROB BUCKNER: It’s not as awkward as people would think because it’s easy to overlook. General Motors and Honda are developing fuel cells together, electric vehicles together. This isn’t our only joint venture, if you will. We still compete in the showroom, compete on the racetrack, but this is a project that teaming up together has made a lot of sense. It helps the series that we’re competing in. It’s been a good joint collaboration project.
Q. Tech transfer has always been important to you as manufacturers. Is this something that can move over to road cars? What have you learned that can move over to road cars?
ROB BUCKNER: I think we’re always trying to compare simulation tools and how we compare coming to the racetrack. I don’t know if capacitors would power an all-electric vehicle, which is where we see GM going simply because they’re kind of high power for a short duration, which isn’t a good fit for an all-electric vehicle in terms of range.
I think the whole EV space, everyone is learning a lot. You don’t want to turn away from any opportunities to build upon that skill set for the company, for the program, for motorsports or anything.
Q. You both have two complete cars that you can use in the testing process right now. When do you expect every team to be able to have their hands on this? Are there any concerns on being able to get all the parts and pieces ready?
MATT NILES: I think to get all the teams have their hands on it, our goal is to have that before the end of the year. I think getting all the parts and pieces in place by St. Petersburg is going to be a challenge.
But that’s what we do here, is challenges. So, we’re going to keep pushing ahead and get it done.
Q. Jay, you’ve been through that before with other parts, aero kit parts, aero kit era, aeroscreen, parts availability…
JAY FRYE: In addition to Honda and Chevrolet, Dallara is involved, Xtrac is involved, we’ve got skeleton (indiscernible). We’ve got (indiscernible), PVG with the screen, upper frame. There’s a lot of people involved.
Obviously, it’s all going to come together and fall together. We had a team manager meeting the other day, had some presentations with Xtrac and Dallara and where we’re at. I think we’re into a good spot.
Again, how do you organize it? Is it by points? Do you get one per team? I think the next big test will be a 10-car test, first part of November, which will be one car per team. We got a couple more four-car tests coming up. The next plateau will be the 10-car test.
MATT NILES: December.
Q. What’s the time frame for having the rules set in place?
JAY FRYE: Like Rob (Buckner) said, we’re learning stuff today, right? Again, we’ll get to a certain point. This thing will evolve over the next couple years even, right? As you learn, we go. This is a ‘24, ‘25, ‘26 thing right now, program. How does the program change in ‘24, ‘25 and ‘26? It will probably be much different in ‘26 than it is in ‘24.
Again, that’s what we do – we evolve. We have these groups, like I said the IEC, groups like that. We talk about this stuff, come up with a consensus, and there we go.
Q. Could be good for competition?
JAY FRYE: Yeah. Like I said, it’s going to give the drivers a new toy, a new tool. Some of them are going to like it probably more than others, some will like part of it more than others. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.
Remember, three or four years ago, we ran a push to pass test here, remember? So we’ve done something kind of similar to this. Obviously, we’ve never run anything like this on an oval before or anywhere before, an oval for sure. We have push to pass on road and street courses. It will be interesting to see how this afternoon plays out.
Again, it’s a new tool. We got amazing drivers and amazing teams, competitors, they’ll figure it out.