Josef Newgarden praised the new engine planned for the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series season and believes it has everything the field of drivers are wanting.
The 31-year-old Tennessee native tested the next-gen 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, minus the hybrid component (running alternators from the current 2.2-liter V6 twin-turbo powerplant), last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The test was on the 2.587-mile, 13-turn layout that features an extra loop at Turn 5, unlike the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit for both IndyCar events.
Newgarden fielded the Chevrolet entry on Monday, with Team Penske teammate Will Power taking the reins Tuesday and Wednesday. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon piloted the Honda entry all three days of running. No incidents were reported by either manufacturer, with Chevrolet confirming it logged a total of over 600 miles.
During a conference call with the media on Wednesday, TobyChristie.com asked the two-time IndyCar champion about the test and the comparison to the current engine.
“It felt pretty seamless to me,” Newgarden said. “At least plugging in the engine and just going. I mean, there wasn’t a lot of drama to getting it on track, so I think that speaks to Chevrolet and specifically with looking at the timeline that they’ve had with that engine. I think they did a really good job rolling it out and just having really no issues right away.
“Loved the power increase. I think that’s definitely the right direction. It’s what we’re wanting. More difficult car to drive. Just more speed and difficulty putting the power down.
“The hybrid component was not tested, so I don’t really have much to say towards that, but I think the engines that we did run were pretty much ready to rock as they are. You could put them in the car probably next week, and we could go racing. I think that’s really good news.
“We’re in this phase right now where IndyCar is trying to stay diligent and make sure that they make the right decisions for the future, and it’s an exciting time. I’m very excited for this new package as we get to 2024, and we want to make sure we get all the details right.
“What’s going to accompany it? What’s the final details of the engine specifically? How is everything else integrated around that? There’s a lot of unknown answers, but that’s why we have this time to work on it and to make sure we get it right.”
Even though the additional power makes the car more of a challenge to drive, Newgarden doesn’t feel there is a need to have the assistance of power steering.
“I don’t think we need power steering because of the power increase,” he said. “That’s not going to be detrimental. The overall weight of the car is going to be the crutch for that, but I’m sure everyone unanimously, if not unanimously, probably close to it, does not want power steering.
“It’s not part of the DNA of IndyCar racing, and it’s not something we really want to change, so I think everything else associated with the engine, the overall weight of the chassis, will play into that much more.”