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Racing won't need to go all-electric to stay relevant to OEMs

Roger Penske says that he doesn’t believe motorsport needs to become all-electric by 2030 to remain relevant to OEMs, and says that vehicle manufacturer interest in IndyCar’s hybrid formula remains high.

Roger Penske

Roger Penske

Chris Jones

The NTT IndyCar Series will switch to 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6s with hybrid power in 2023, and says that the appeal of this formula goes beyond IndyCar’s current engine suppliers Chevrolet and Honda.

“We’re in conversations right now with two really good possibilities,” he said. “Timing is always everything. COVID has put a lot of things on the backburner.

“But I would say we hope to know where we are in the next few months for sure – at least adding one more.”

Asked if that would be in time for the start of the next-gen engine formula, Penske replied: “Oh yes, it has to be, for anyone coming in hoping to have a level playing field.”

With certain vehicle manufacturers aiming to go “all electric” by 2030, Penske was quizzed as to whether he foresaw racing being able to go the same route by then, in order to stay relevant to the automotive industry.

“I don’t think you’re going to see the world going all electric,” he replied. “I think you’re going to have hybrid solutions in all sorts of transportation.

“I’m sure there’ll be mandatory electrification in certain cities, highly densely populated areas, but that wouldn’t be 100 percent.”

Penske said that EV demand in the U.S. is “certainly not what it is in Europe, where they will be mandating EV requirements in certain cities. The demand and infrastructure is building here to make that happen.

“We’re looking at it in our truck business, we’re certainly looking at supply right now… but I don’t see this moving to 10 or 15 percent of the market overnight. Tesla’s been the leader and there’s some great product coming from the Detroit Big Three and some European OEMs. We’ll see how it integrates into the market. At the moment it’s such a small portion.

“But we’re looking at it from a strategy standpoint, how we facilitize our dealerships of the future for parts and service.”

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