Flipping through the channels today I came across The Molson Indy Toronto, an event in the Champ Car World Series. Open wheel racing isn’t huge in the US, and it doesn’t get much TV coverage, so I don’t get to watch it as much as I’d like. Watching today, I saw something I haven’t seen before, Power 2 Pass. I’m not sure how long it has been in the sport, but it’s new to me!
In this series, each team is strictly regulated concerning the power of their car. However, each driver is given a Power 2 Pass button. When pressed, the button engages an alternate tuning in the car’s engine management computer that boost engine power an additional 50hp. The cars are programmed to allow this “boost” to be used for a total of 60 seconds throughout the 1.75 hour race.
If you’ve spent any amount of time playing racing video games the concept will be immediately clear to you. This is much like hitting the Nitrus button in Need for Speed Underground. I can’t help but wonder whether this was inspired by video games at all. Throughout the race the Power 2 Pass remaining for each driver is displayed for the TV audience, providing an additional element to track in the racing strategy of each team.
And of course, being in the South in the US, one of my first thoughts is “They should do this in NASCAR!”