IRL to Debut Push-to-Pass Power Boost Rules

The North American Indy Car Racing League has made one more step to meeting the fans' expectations for spectacular racing. After introducing, earlier this month, a new set of aerodynamic rules aimed at improving overtaking on oval tracks, IRL's engine manufacturer Honda brought its own contribution to the aforementioned open-wheel racing series.

According to HPD Race Team Manager Roger Griffiths, the IRL and Honda companies have found a way to provide each car with a device – called push to pass – that enables a driver to push a power boost button throughout the duration of one race. Of course, the use of this power boost – believed to be of up to 20 hp – will be limited on the characteristics of the race.

For the upcoming race at Kentucky, for example, each driver will be allowed to use the power boost function for a maximum of 20 times, each burst of power lasting up to 12 seconds. According to Mactaggart, the power increase may be of either 5 or 20 hp, depending on the fuel-conservation mode ran by each driver.

If you're on the rich side, you get five horsepower because the engine already is producing close to its maximum, where you can get up to 20 horsepower if you're running lean,” said IRL senior technical director Les Mactaggart.

It's to provide the driver, if they're already making a passing maneuver, an additional tool to complete the pass. It provides the teams options which they have to choose how they're going to run the race so it brings more strategy from a team aspect,” added Mactaggart.

Honda revealed that the function by which a driver can use the power boost will be fulfilled by an ECU software alteration, and that each use will be followed by a 10-second recharge battery.

We hope that the new Honda button feature will add a little spice to the racing; it gives the driver/team an additional tool to use during the course of the race that we believe will promote some additional overtaking with the added complexity in that the feature won't be available until the actual race so teams will have to experiment on the fly,” added Griffiths.
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