Supply chain issues have affected just about every corner of the world lately, causing product shortages, manufacturing problems and oftentimes higher prices. And cars have been no exception. But what does seem a bit exceptional is that even the Indy 500's Indy Car series is dealing with supply chain effects - with hybrid engines originally slated to debut next year pushed back to 2024, and for this May at the Brickyard, a lack of excess teams causing a change in qualifying procedures. Let's take a look at both issues which seem at the very least supply chain adjacent, starting with this year's big race on Memorial Day weekend.
Indy 500 Bump Day Qualifying Bumped
One traditional piece of the Month of May festivities leading up to Indy 500 race day, is an event known as Bump Day. As the Indy 500 maxes out at 33 cars allowed for the race grid itself, on many occasions more cars are announced as entrants at the beginning of the month. Bump Day in its most recent form refers to the final day of qualifying which pits any cars that didn't turn in the top 30 times against each other to secure the final three spots. However, 2022's field has just 32 entrants, not even maxing out to 33, meaning no Bump Day is needed, and qualifying is simply to determine start order, and of course, pole position. Some would argue the lack of Bump Day is not a bad thing, as it means every team that's spent effort preparing to race will get to, but some fans may miss the drama. A new qualifying format will debut this year instead. While the number of entries may not be directly traceable to supply chain issues, difficulties in getting parts and higher associated costs may have led Indy Car teams on the fence to stay home.
Indy Car Hybrid Engine Debut Delayed
The debut of hybrid engines in Indy Car racing has been in the works for some time, but it will wait a bit longer. The racing series behind the Indy 500 blames supply chain issues, specifically with some key hybrid components, for a delayed introduction to the 2024 season. The new 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines with hybrid technology would allow cars to reach 900 horsepower according to Indy Car, about 200 more horsepower than currently possible. And while climate impact figures are unclear at this time, a hybrid supplement should increase fuel efficiency, thus reducing consumption. The other impact of the engine switch is theoretically to have more auto manufacturers involved in Indy Car in addition to Chevrolet and Honda, the current engine providers. The delay to 2024 at this early date suggests Indy Car leadership wants to ensure all the supply chain issues are ironed out and allow enough time for teams and manufacturers (new and current) to prepare.
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