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IndyCar push-to-pass standardized for 2013

Mar 19, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix - Day 3 Getty Images

After it went through several different iterations last year, IndyCar’s “push-to-pass” overtake assist system will be standardized for 2013, starting this weekend at St. Petersburg.

The system itself allows for a turbocharger boost from 21.7 Psi to 23.2 Psi and additional 200 RPM with the push of a button located on the steering wheel.

Drivers will have 10 total pushes to use at their discretion on all road and street course venues this season. At St. Petersburg this weekend, along with Detroit, Sonoma, Baltimore and Houston, each push will last 15 seconds, for a total of 150 seconds available throughout the race.

The remaining road and street circuits (Barber, Long Beach, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Mid-Ohio) all have at least one longer straight than the other five, and as such have longer push-to-pass time available. Those races will still have 10 pushes but each will last 20 seconds, for a total of 200.

In the past, drivers could use it both in offensive or defensive mode; a leading driver might, for instance, use his or her system at the same time as someone behind them hits theirs. But according to IndyCar vp of technology Will Phillips, that’s not necessarily going to be the case this season.

“If the driver chooses to use one, they can’t cancel it. It’s use it or lose it,” he said. “That in itself makes it more difficult to choose to use as a defense mechanism rather than as an overtaking opportunity. You’ll have to be careful because there are only 10 opportunities to use it during a race. The length of each push of the button should cover the longest straight, if that’s where they choose to use it, of each circuit.”

  1. wallio - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    This is so dumb. Why not use Champ Car’s old system? You get X seconds, and can use it however and whenever you want, almost like nitrous. I believe Champ Car used to allow 120 seconds of use, and it was neat to see some guys use a bunch off the start while others saved it for the final laps. Bring that back! And allow P2P on ovals!

    • icemanpjn - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:57 AM

      There isn’t much point in having a push-to-pass on ovals. In NASCAR you have a lot more on-track passing, but it isn’t that the drivers are better or that they try harder. In NASCAR they have more passing partially because there are more cars on the track to pass but largely because it’s oval racing. On ovals, the entire track is a plausible passing zone, and you can take as much time trying to pass me as you like. On ovals, downforce isn’t important, so drafting me helps you pass me rather than hindering you. On road courses, on the other hand, it’s a lot harder to find a place to pass, and you only get a few moments to go for it or back off, and on road courses downforce is far more important and you lose it by drafting. Push-to-pass helps make overtaking more of a realistic option on road courses, but on ovals you don’t need the help.

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