Arrow Mclaren Hybrid Dash Ligh

Archery McLaren has launched a first-ever innovation in IndyCar’s hybrid unit, implementing a lighting system in the cockpit to help drivers understand their power levels.

The IndyCar Series ushered in a new era at the mid-Ohio sports car course with a hybrid engine debut.

The current 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 internal combustion engine is paired with an electric low-voltage (48V) motor generator unit (MGU) and a supercapacitor energy storage system (ESS). More than 800 horsepower is possible thanks to the 4.5’s boost in combination with push-to-pass, readily available to drivers.

In conjunction with the redesign and deployment, Arrow McLaren decided to design and implement a lighting system in the cockpit that would help provide SOC information to the driver so they could see it from both sides of the cockpit when viewed from an angle.

As Arrow McLaren team principal Gavin Ward shared with, Alexander Rossi, who is set to leave as part of a collective decision at the end of the season, sparked the idea and the engineers got to work.

“I think the first thought was put there by Rossi,” Ward said. “Then we got some brilliant engineers to run with it and figure out how to implement it and how it works.

“We’ve done some work in the simulator and partnered with Chevy to practice it and make sure we’re ready to roll it out here and put the system in place.

“It was fun to do. It’s nice that people kind of noticed. I know that the people who worked on it should be proud of themselves. It’s fun when you get those opportunities to show some creativity and some smart thinking.

Arrow Mclaren Hybrid Dash Lights

Arrow McLaren hybrid dash lights

Photo by: Uncredited

Ward shared that each of the three cars is equipped with a lighting system, but he wasn’t ready to share specifics.

“It’s there to give the drivers information about the hybrid system, obviously,” Ward said. “Yeah, you’ll see some stairs going up and down.”

After missing pole by a narrow 0.0024s, Pato Oward, who will start second in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, is excited about how the lights will help him during the lap.

“It’s great,” Oward said. “If you’ve got something going on, it’s kind of an extra thing to fall back on – especially when you’ve got a lot going on in a race situation.

“You can quickly go there and see exactly where you are in the rankings, get out of sequence and get back into it.

“Eventually like a spotter, somehow. As you are clearly using your first judgment, but if for some reason you forget or whatever, it is good to bring you back.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow Mclaren Chevrolet

Patricio O’ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motor sports images

And Oward also believes it won’t be long before rival teams catch up.

“I think every team will see it … maybe some will decide to do it, maybe some won’t, but every team will probably have their own lighting system or something,” Oward said.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Pallow, who came in as the defending race winner and earned the award on the pole, responded with his own position.

“Yeah, I don’t have those fancy lights,” said Palu, the reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion. “I do not know.

“I think maybe too much. But it looks really cool; I agree.”

But does the Palu want a similar lighting system on its dash?

“Yes, it depends,” said Palu. “All this is free for us. We can do whatever we want.

We can make bars. We can do the numbers. We can make lights. You can do whatever you want on your dash. It’s easy to see.

“But also, you can do the little dash LED lights that we have, but obviously those are more visible. It’s the same as what they use in IMSA, right? Apparently. You don’t need to see the screen. I don’t know if we’ll have it or not. Maybe.”

Ward is ready with the lights for his next creation: making them work like ‘KITT,’ the iconic Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from the 1980s TV show Knight Rider.

“Maybe we’re thinking of doing a Knight Rider thing when the car is gone,” he said. “So we’ll work on that.”

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