2014 Honda North American Motorsports Overview
2014 Honda North American Motorsports Overview
Earlier this year, Honda Motor Co., Ltd announced Honda's worldwide motorsports overview for 2014. With the company racing in more than 100 motorcycle and automobile racing categories around the world, Honda is proud of its ability to meet the needs of its customers and expand the joys of racing.
Today, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AHM) and its subsidiary, Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), announce the North American motorsports overview for 2014.
Our founder, Soichiro Honda, believed that the "racing spirit" should live within every Honda associate. The "racing spirit" embodies the will to be the best, to make the highest-quality products for our customers, and to be a company that society wants to exist. This spirit fuels our company's passion for competition, quest for innovation, and preparation for the performance necessary to achieve success. Our 2014 motorsports program demonstrates that the "racing spirit" is alive and well through its continued support of our motorsport customers.
Honda's success in the marketplace and on the racetrack derives from its joy in building products that are fun to drive. In 2014, AHM and HPD will expand their commitment to motorsports, a platform embodying the exciting, innovative, and youthful essence of Honda products. AHM continues Honda's tradition of competing at the highest levels of North American motorsports. HPD furthers development of an entire spectrum of Honda products for enthusiasts at all levels of motorsports. HPD continues its focus on racetrack innovation.
Motorsports Enables Honda to Live Honda Brand Values
Every company seeks to engage in activities that help it become the incarnation of its brand values. For Honda, North American motorsports activities provide this authentic outlet.
Honda products are for the young and young-at-heart. Honda’s racing programs reflect this youthful characteristic. Young children experience the joy of racing in quarter-midgets and karts, with dependable Honda engines powering their passion for this sport. This year, Honda looks forward to the introduction of its GXH50 engines to be used on kid karts for America’s youngest race car drivers. Honda’s 2014 racing partners, Quarter Midgets of America and the United States Auto Club, also assist our program in making products available to the youngest racers and their parents.
Few sports match the thrills of motorsports. The speed, wheel-to-wheel competition and heroics of drivers at every level of racing make the sport an excellent showcase for the excitement afforded by Honda products.
In 2014, our pinnacle racing programs in INDYCAR and the United SportsCar Championship provide us with the opportunity to power drivers to victory at the most elite levels of racing on this continent. Whether Honda-powered cars are challenging speed records at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, navigating hairpin turns at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, or outlasting their competition at Petit Le Mans, Honda products are an integral part of the exciting on-track action.
The racing spirit drives Honda to innovate. Like our innovations for consumers, our innovations in motorsports provide the best training ground for Honda associates to push the envelope of technology under the most rigorous of conditions.
In 2014, at every level of competition, HPD engineers will be pushing this envelope of innovation. Whether adapting cost-effective road technology for prototype sports car racing, such as the HR28TT P2 engine featuring direct injection and Drive-by-Wire, or through its introduction of innovative technologies to race chassis, HPD’s customers can look to Honda for “what’s next.” From the new HPD Midget engine in USAC competition, to the FF engine in Formula F, to the Acura ARX-03b in United SportsCar Championship to the new HI14TT INDY Twin Turbo, HPD will be at the cutting edge of automotive technologies.
In 2009, Honda created a process to bring racing performance to mainstream consumers of our products. The HPD brand was chosen to be the vanguard of this process, as Honda’s technical racing arm has become synonymous with performance.
From the pinnacle racing of INDYCAR to grassroots tracks across America, HPD performance is showcased nearly every week of the year.
In 2014, the same innovation that has driven two decades of unprecedented success in motorsports will be at the core of HPD’s new performance brand. HPD’s products are for those who truly desire proven performance without sacrificing the reliability that comes with the Honda name.
Throughout the United States, HPD-branded accessories will be available for the Honda CR-Z, including sport suspension, brakes, and supercharger kits.
2014 North American Motorsports Activities
IndyCar Series Racing
HPD will campaign the new twin-turbocharged HI14RTT Indy V6 engine with a lineup of a dozen elite Verizon IndyCar Series drivers from teams including Andretti Autosports, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, A.J. Foyt Racing, Bryan Herta Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in 2014. Honda's Indy V6 engine is designed to meet INDYCAR's 2014 technical regulations, calling for a twin-turbocharged engine with a maximum of six cylinders and 2.2 liters displacement. Cylinder bore is restricted to a maximum of 95mm, while stroke is free. Maximum engine revolutions are a series-mandated 12,000 rpm.
In 2013, Honda-powered drivers scored nine race victories, including Honda’s 200th Indy car win, scored by Scott Dixon, who won four times en route to his third series championship. Simon Pagenaud scored his first two Indy car victories last year; Takuma Sato and Charlie Kimball both won for the first time; and Mike Conway won for the second time in his Indy car career.
TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
After two years of incredible success in American Le Mans Series competition – where HPD chassis and Honda engines swept all manufacturer categories in both LMP1 and LMP2 in 2012 and 2013 – a new era of North American sports-car racing begins in 2014 with the debut of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the result of the merger of the ALMS with GRAND-AM.
HPD will have a multi-platform attack in the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for 2014.
Extreme Speed Motorsports returns with Honda power and HPD chassis after a successful debut with the LMP2 chassis/engine package in 2013, the final year of the American Le Mans Series. Starworks Motorsport returns to the Honda family in 2014, seeking to add to the LMP2 World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans wins it scored with HPD in 2012. The Florida-based team is running the new HR35TT twin-turbocharged V6 engine – a 3.5 liter version of the same Honda J35 engine run in LMP2 -- in its Riley Daytona Prototype chassis.
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge & SCCA Pirelli World Challenge
Developed from the popular “showroom stock” racing series of the 1980s, today’s North American professional, production-based racing series – IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge – feature large fields and fierce competition.
HPD provides parts, engineering development and technical support to teams competing in both series, from longtime Acura stalwart RealTime Racing and the multi-car efforts of Compass360 Racing to the smallest teams making their initial forays into professional racing.
Led by the most successful driver in Acura history, Peter Cunningham, RealTime has waved the “Caliper A” banner in professional competition since 1996, winning races and championships in every division of the series with an assortment of race-tuned Acura products including the TSX, RSX, NSX and Integra.
RealTime will debut the new Acura TLX GT in 2014, with a two-car effort that will compete for overall Pirelli World Challenge wins in the GT class. A number of teams run the Honda Civic Si in the Touring Car (TC) class, including Toronto-based Compass360, returning with a multi-car program in 2014 as it helps defend Honda’s TC manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships.
Honda claimed the 2013 World Challenge TC Manufacturers’ Championship, and took the top four positions in the TC Drivers’ Championship, led by Compass360 pilot Ryan Winchester.
A new addition to World Challenge competition in 2012 was the “B-Spec” division, designed as an inexpensive, entry-level category for compact cars such as the Honda Fit, developed for participation in the new class by HPD. Last year, Joel Lipperini led eight Honda Fit drivers with two race wins to finish second in the B-Spec drivers’ championship.
While the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge consists of a series of sprint races, the similar Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is an endurance racing series, with two drivers per entry for the multi-hour contests that comprise the series.
In addition to its Pirelli World Challenge program, Compass360 also features a multi-car Honda Civic Si effort in the Street Turner (ST) division of the CTSCC, where the team is a two-time class champion. Other front-running Honda-equipped teams include the Honda of America Racing Team (HART), made up of associates from Honda of America Manufacturing in Ohio; the family-owned Leroux Racing Team; and a new effort from Cattaneo Racing Group.
Honda Racing Line
Launched in 2009, the Honda Racing Line is a program targeted at licensed grassroots motorsports participants competing in sanctioned amateur and entry-level professional racing in the USA and Canada.
The Honda Racing Line was formed to provide its members with a direct connection to Honda Performance Development and its unparalleled record of success at the highest levels of motorsport.
Today, the Honda Racing Line provides a wide range of goods and services highlighting Honda’s exciting and fun automotive products. This includes, but is not limited to, racers participating in:
QMA & USAC 1/4 Midget
Spec Racer Atom & SCCA Pro Solo and Solo II
Honda Racing/HPD Midget
SCCA Club Racing & NASA Honda Challenge
Formula Atlantic / Lites
Pro Touring Car
Whether our customers love to race their own Hondas in sanctioned motorsports events, or cheer their favorite cars and drivers to victory, American Honda's motorsports initiatives seek to bring the excitement of Honda Racing closer to consumers. As programs such as the Honda Racing Line grow in popularity, our customers will have enhanced access to dependable Honda Racing performance products. Through application of HPD's advanced technologies, Honda and Acura engines will continue to power racers and teams into Winner's Circles and the hearts of Honda Racing fans.
At Honda, racing offers much more than an opportunity to highlight the quality of our products or our on-track accomplishments. We hope that in 2014, the sport of racing will be more fun for our customers becauseof Honda products.
Grassroots Motorsports Programs
HPD supports amateur racers taking part in SCCA and NASA club events across the country, as well as at licensed “track day” events, solo and autocross competition, rallying and in various “spec” categories such as Ariel Atom and Honda Challenge events.
In addition to providing parts and engineering support, HPD pays contingency awards to racers in a variety of categories, including professional and amateur Formula Atlantic, Formula F, the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge, IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, B-Spec Honda Fit competition, SCCA club racing and the NASA national championships.
B-Spec and Honda Civic Si
HPD joined with Mazda to introduce the new entry-level “B-Spec” category, first in SCCA club racing and now in the professional-level SCCA Pirelli World Challenge. Other manufacturers have also joined the category, with eligible models now including the Fiat 500, Mini Cooper and Ford Fiesta, as B-Spec continues to grow and prosper.
HPD has also developed a competition version of the Honda Civic Si for competition in a variety of series and categories, including SCCA and NASA club racing; the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge, IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, U.S. Touring Car Championship and Canadian Touring Car Championship; and import drag racing.
HPD B-Spec Rally Fit
Designed for both stage rallying and Rallycross, the HPD B-Spec Rally Fit expands the concept of low-cost “B-Spec” competition from its road-racing origins. The prototype HPD B-Spec Rally Fit is campaigned by the Ohio-based Team Honda Research (THR) Rally team.
The Fit utilizes the same competition components introduced with the debut of B-Spec racing at the 2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill by Team Honda Research West, including the roll cage, suspension, camber adjusters, brake lines, brake pads and exhaust system. The transition from pavement to dirt is completed by raising the car on its suspension, and installing off-road tires specific to the conditions.
Recognizing the potential of B-Spec, the Rally America National Championship began including the category as part of the organization’s Manufacturers’ National Championship program in 2013. The HPD B-Spec Rally Fit won this championship in its inaugural year.
The Manufacturers’ National Championship pits Rally America’s most commonly found manufacturer brands – such as Honda, Subaru, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Volkswagen – against one another. Every driver in the Overall, SP, 2WD and B-Spec Classes has a stake in the manufacturer’s outcome, as the top finishing car in each category wins that driver’s brand a total of 22 points after each round.
Grassroots Open-Wheel Racing Programs
Recognizing the need for a modern engine in Formula F, the traditional “first step” for a young driver towards a career in professional racing, HPD introduced a race-ready version of the Honda Fit engine in time for the start of the 2010 season.
The engine has proven to be equal in power to the aging, traditional “Kent” powerplant, and far superior in reliability and longevity. It has helped revive Formula F club racing, and 2011 saw further growth for Formula F with the introduction of a pair of professional Formula F racing series – one based in the eastern United States and the other on the West Coast – that further boosted participation in the category.
A Honda-powered Formula F driven by Tim Kautz of Geneva, IL captured the 2012 national championship at the annual SCCA Runoffs at Elkhart Lake, WI, marking the first victory of a Honda-powered Formula F at the annual SCCA championship event. Kautz repeated his championship performance at the 50th Anniversary Runoffs in 2013.
In 2012, the Honda Fit engine also was approved for competition in Canada’s two professional Formula F racing series, the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship and the Formula Tour 1600 series.
Following a successful introduction of the Honda Fit-based Formula F engine in 2010, Honda Performance Development (HPD) continues to expand its grassroots motorsports offerings via the next rung on the performance ladder: the new 220-270 bhp K20 engine, adaptable to a wide variety of grassroots motorsports applications, from autocross and rallying to open-wheel Formula Atlantic competition.
Developed from the 2.0-liter engine used in several Honda passenger-car models, a prototype of the HPD K20 race engine was first displayed in December 2010, at the Performance Racing Industry Show (PRI) in Formula Atlantic guise. In this form, the K20 engine will produce approximately 240 bhp and is available in two different performance specifications through the Honda Racing Line for around USD $23,000, which includes an ECU and harness. HPD also offers installation kits for both the Swift 014 and the Swift 016.
Formula Atlantic has been revived as a professional racing category for 2014, and a 10-race schedule has been announced for the Atlantic Championship Series.
In addition to Formula Atlantic, the K20 engine may be used in several other racing categories, including GT, ST and Sports Racing classes. Other potential competition uses for the engine include autocross, drifting, Rallycross and rallying.
Karting and Other Programs
Karting & Quarter Midgets
Today, many young racers gain their first racing experience in karting and quarter midgets. Recognizing this, HPD began making Honda CR125 engine parts and rebuild kits available to both competitors and engine shops in 2011 and, in 2012, expanded the program to include the four-stroke CRF250 engine.
The Honda CR125 engine is used in the popular Spec Honda and Stock Moto classes by a variety of karting sanctioning bodies. The Honda Racing Line now offers racers a new source for CR125 parts, engine-rebuild kits and technical support. As in club racing, HPD offers contingency award programs to kart racers competing in several organizations, including the WKA and SKUSA.
The CRF250 comes completely assembled and ready to install in a kart chassis. Features of the engine include Electronic Fuel Injection, five-speed transmission and custom-made exhaust and air filter. Everything related to the drive train is included in the HPD package: the engine, motor mounts, fuel pump, and clutch and throttle cables. Every component of the CRF250 is engineered and assembled with the precision and quality characteristic of Honda and HPD.
One of this country’s most popular entry-level racing categories, quarter midgets, receives support from HPD and Honda Power Equipment, which provides Honda GX engines, parts and product support to quarter-midget racers competing in events sanctioned by organizations such as the United States Auto Club and the Quarter Midgets of America.
New for 2014, the HPD Honda GXH50 Kid Kart engine is designed to improve quality, reliability and balanced performance at a low cost to the competitor. The GXH50 Kid Kart engine comes factory-sealed from HPD to eliminate “blueprinting” of the engine. HPD’s support will include a rules package designed to maintain the integrity of the program. Engines will not be re-sealable, and will come with an HPD-spec clutch, engine mount, chain guard and hardware.
Engine life is expected to be well in excess of 200 hours, and the HPD GXH50 is intended to provide both lower maintenance costs and better engine parity than other currently available engines. Through the Honda Racing Line, karters and other racers can arrange direct, door-to-door delivery of parts and complete engines.
Although technologies have changed, one thing has not changed since Honda’s auto racing programs began in 1964. Motorsports still provides our company with the best showcase for its youthful, exciting, innovative, and performance-driven product. In 2014, fifty years later, Honda’s North American Motorsports Overview articulates this powerful tradition of our company.
From grassroots racing to pinnacle-level motorsports, we support our customers’ passions to participate and watch auto racing. In 2014, we will add HPD performance products to our support for these customers who are passionate about the role of their cars in their lives. This passion, as reflected in Honda’s racing spirit, provides an important foundation for all our manufacturing and sales endeavors, as we continue to strive to be a company that society wants to exist.