Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
ENGINE MANUFACTURER COMPETITION
- This weekend's season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks the return of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six seasons of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Lotus now join Honda in providing engines to the 26-car starting field.
- Honda will field 10 drivers among six teams this weekend in St. Petersburg, anchored by the four-car Chip Ganassi team, which includes four-time series champion Dario Franchitti, 2008 series champion Scott Dixon, 2008 St. Petersburg race winner Graham Rahal, and rising star Charlie Kimball.
- Other drivers and teams using the new turbocharged Honda Indy V-6 engine this weekend include Justin Wilson and James Jakes with Dale Coyne Racing; Takuma Sato with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing; Simon Pagenaud with Schmidt Hamilton Racing; Mike Conway with A.J. Foyt Racing and 2011 Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden, who will make his IndyCar racing debut this weekend with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Chevrolet will field 11 drivers and teams this weekend, while five drivers will use the new Lotus IndyCar engine.
- From 2006-2011, Honda supplied engines to every IndyCar Series competitor. A total of 98 drivers raced with the Honda Indy V-8 during that period, with 15 drivers recording race victories. Honda engines logged approximately 1.2 million miles of practice, qualifying and racing in the series; and nearly 500,000 actual race miles.
- During the six years that Honda served as IndyCar engine supplier, the company also provided engines to the full 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field – and for the only six times in Indy 500 history (2006-2011), there were no engine failures recorded in the Memorial Day weekend classic.
- Honda's title sponsorship of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks the seventh consecutive year the company has supported what is now the season-opening IZOD IndyCar Series event. American Honda also sponsors next weekend's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, outside of Birmingham, and the August 5 Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Honda Canada, meanwhile, entitles the July 8 Honda Indy Toronto.
- Two new Honda race-related marketing programs will make their debuts this weekend at St. Petersburg. The Honda Racing Backstage Pass offers an exclusive race-day entertainment package to loyal Honda owners who apply though the Honda Racing/HPD Facebook page. It includes a VIP tour of the paddock, Honda Tech Talk and special reserved seats in the Honda Fan Section, also new for 2012 at Honda-sponsored events.
- The Honda On-Track Ticket will provide a high-end, branded experience for fans at Honda-sponsored IZOD IndyCar Series events this year, centered around the INDYCAR Two-Seater and Safety Car ride-along programs. Special guests of Honda will receive a personal, on-track riding experience, in either a Honda Safety Car or the Two-Seater IndyCar.
HONDA CIVIC Si PACE CAR
- The new 2012 Honda Civic Si made its debut as an IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car at last year's Honda Indy Toronto. This Civic was originally built by Honda of Canada Manufacturing, and then developed into a series Safety Car at Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.
- Additional modifications installed at HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit, consisting of front, side and rear under spoilers; Firestone Firehawk 225/40 R18 tires mounted on Enkei alloy wheels, and an IndyCar Series graphics package.