Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr has moved to explain its IndyCar engine spec progress, following confusion over who did or did not have 2015 and 2016 engines.
Following comments made by Graham Rahal at St. Petersburg about “using a 2015 engine,” and conflicting reports from engineers and drivers over which teams had or did not have a 2016-spec HPD engine in Phoenix, St. Cyr sought to clarify the status of Honda’s latest 2.2-liter V6 turbo.
“Everyone started the season with the same 2016-spec engine,” he told Motorsport.com, “but we are doing continuous, constant development. And according to the homologation rules, each year you’re allowed to change different parts.
"This year we were allowed to change the combustion chamber, valves, valvetrain, and so on. You can’t change the castings.
“So that’s how it is, and some years you can make big changes, some years you can’t.
“But in addition to that, there are some areas that you’re allowed to do constant development on. That means each time you pull out a new engine for a team, it could have different parts. Lubricants are always open to development, pistons are always open, valves are always open, and so you can change those from one spec to another.
“Some of those parts have a longer lead time than others, but as we go through the season, we home in on the ideal. And that’s the way we do it.
“The teams got a big improvement on their first engine [of the year] and then there are incremental improvements as we go forward. There’s always optimization you can do.
“That’s been the way since the new turbo engine rules came into force back in 2012, and it’s how it will continue.”