The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is in a great spot heading into the 2024 season, that is despite the supposed setbacks in recent weeks. There has been criticism of series officials in recent days because the new hybrid systems that were to be introduced for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in March have been pushed back to after the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26.
Despite the delay, team owner Chip Ganassi says that it is an interesting development but probably for the best.
It’s interesting, it takes a lot of things to come together to make an announcement that you’re going to go hybrid. I think it takes — it’s equally difficult to announce it’s going to be delayed.
It’s unfortunate, no question. But it’s probably the right decision. Knowing all I know, and from what I understand, it was probably the right decision to make.
Sure, it’s not our first choice. I wouldn’t say it’s the optimum thing to do, to delay it, but it was the right thing to do with everything I know.
Having said that, if they bring it in halfway through the season, I don’t think it’s as big a deal as people would think. In the test that we’ve done with the hybrid, the teams are going to find it very easy to transmit over to that program when the time comes. I don’t see that as a big thing.
We want to make sure it’s ready, when it’s ready for prime time, then bring it along, but not too soon to discourage the type of great racing we have right now. I don’t think we want to do anything to impede that. Our on-track product is very, very good right now. More passes, more on-track passes than any open-wheel series in the world I think right now. I think that speaks for itself in terms of INDYCAR.
We don’t want to mess that up or we don’t want to mess up the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, which is the Indianapolis 500. I think if the hybrid comes along sometime after that, it will be fine. It won’t be such a big challenge that we’re all distorted about here on Tuesday.
The series will once again have 27 full-time entries in 2024 which is a testament to the health of the sport with Andretti Autosport moving from four to three cars while Chip Ganassi Racing have expanded their car count from four to five full-time cars.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has brought in Pietro Fittipaldi alongside Graham Rahal and Christian Lundgaard. Dale Coyne Racing is expected to have two full-time cars again in 2024. Paddock Eye understands that Sting Ray Robb is close to returning to the team whom he made his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut for in 2023.
Meyer Shank Racing has an all-new line-up with Felix Rosenqvist and Tom Blomqvist driving for the team which is now co-owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.
AJ Foyt Racing will make an announcement about their driver line-up for 2024 on Friday. Team Penske will have three drivers again this season with Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin, and Will Power staying with the team. Ed Carpenter Racing has Rinus VeeKay and has handed an NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut to Christian Rasmussen.
Juncos Hollinger Racing has a two-car line-up with Romain Grosjean joining Agustin Canapino.
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will return to Milwaukee for the Milwaukee Mile doubleheader while the season will end in Nashville with the race being re-routed due to the construction work happening at the Nissan Stadium.
The series has enjoyed an incredible number of overtakes throughout the 2023 season and while senior officials refuse to be drawn on the hybrid delay as Chip Ganassi says it is the best decision for the series.
Honda Performance Development gave INDYCAR an ultimatum saying that they are prepared to leave the sport at the end of 2026 if the cost of being involved in the sport doesn’t drop dramatically. It has been mooted for some years that the series is looking for a third manufacturer or (OEM) to enter and while there had been thoughts that Ferrari would enter the series that has not come to fruition as the Prancing Horse is focusing on its efforts in Formula One and endurance racing.
However, it takes time for discussions to take place and the series will get a new OEM, everyone, fans, teams, and series management need to be patient.