SEBRING, Fla. -- Ryan Hunter-Reay was involved in the early development of 2.2-liter, twin turbocharged V-6 engine as Chevrolet rejoined the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012.
The Andretti Autosport driver, who rode that engine to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship and two victories this past season, now is involved in the offseason development of Honda Performance Development’s twin turbocharged engine.
Andretti Autosport announced at the season finale Oct. 19 that it would switch to Honda power for the 2014 season. Hunter-Reay joined Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in testing the engine Nov. 18 for the first time on a road course at Sebring International Raceway. In late September, Pagenaud logged more than 60 laps on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval.
“I’m very impressed with the power and delivery,” Hunter-Reay said. “We’re all happy with how we started testing. The development side of it is a lot of fun. You have an opportunity to customize and personalize and have your impact on a program. What we do right now is important, to get every bit of data out of every day, is crucial to the 2014 championship."
The day's workload included items such as throttle mapping, engine mapping and boost mapping.
“All the hard work going into it will make a big different come the season opener at St. Pete. It’s great to get back to it," Hunter-Reay said.
In July, INDYCAR announced it would require all engines used in 2014 to be powered by twin turbochargers provided by BorgWarner. Honda, the series' sole engine producer from 2006-11, had been using a single turbocharger. The spec twin turbos for 2014 are slightly larger than '13.
"I think Honda did an incredible job today; the new twin turbo is running extremely well," Rahal said. (Development) is a process, but the amount of improvement we made today from the start to the finish gives me a lot of excitement about this engine program going forward. There are already perks over the single turbo engine and I think it can only get better from here.”
Rahal also was working for the first time with veteran engineer Bill Pappas, who joined the team earlier this month, and part of his day was spent running various Firestone tire compounds.
“For my first day working with Bill (Pappas) I’m extremely happy. We’ve already noticed some improvement, and we didn’t run new tires at the end of the day like some people did."