HPD Petit Le Mans Race Report
HPD Racing Report
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Petit Le Mans
Circuit: Road Atlanta (2.54-mile road course) Braselton, Georgia
Weather: Clear, cool, 58 degrees F
Contact Ends Strong Honda OAK Racing Run at Road Atlanta
· Charge to the front ends following collision and contact with the barriers
· Honda-powered Ligier posts fastest race laps prior to collision
· 17th annual Petit Le Mans concludes 2014 United SportsCar Championship season
An up-and-down weekend for Honda Performance Development and the OAK Racing Ligier-Honda ended just before the mid-point of Saturday’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, when contact with another prototype sent driver Gustavo Yacaman into the Turn One barriers and out of the contest.
The Honda-powered prototype was fastest in both Thursday night practice and the race morning warm-up in the hands of driver Alex Brundle, but a clutch-related issue in the sole qualifying session resulted in the OAK machine starting near the back of the 51-car field.
Starting driver Brundle quickly moved through the field, battling the DeltaWing prototype of Katherine Legge for fifth place until the first round of pit stops. During the first stop, however, repairs to a turbocharger hose clamp dropped the Ligier three laps off the leaders.
Brundle and co-driver Ho Pin Tung continued to charge, both setting fastest race laps during their stints as the OAK team recovered two of the lost laps. Ho’s best effort, a 1:13.9, remained the fastest lap of the race through the sixth hour of the 10-hour contest.
Taking over the Ligier Honda in the fourth hour, Yacaman continued to advance, and was attempting to regain the lead lap when contact with the DeltaWing, now driven by Andy Meyrick, sent Yacaman off track in Turn One and then into the barriers. Damage to the front suspension and steering rack ended the race for HPD and the OAK team.
The HPD-developed Honda engines used in the TUDOR championship are derived from the Honda “J35” series of production V6 engines and include relevant twin-turbocharger technology, along with the efficiency provided by direct fuel injection. Key production-based components that are utilized include block and heads, crankshaft, direct injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire throttle, alternator, sensors, fasteners, etc. The engine even utilizes a stock Honda oil filter.
Earlier this weekend, the Compass360 Racing duo of Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple won the ST category aboard their Honda Civic Si in Friday’s two-hour, thirty-minute Continental Tire SportsCar Championship race at Road Atlanta. It was the third victory of the season – and second consecutive win – for the pair, who also won the ST category at Watkins Glen in July and at the Circuit of the Americas in September.
Video News Releases from this weekend’s TUDOR and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge action at Road Atlanta can be found on the “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group. CPG is providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events throughout the 2014 season. The video packages can be found at: youtube.com/hondaracingtrackside.
Today’s 17th annual Petit Le Mans concludes the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Extreme Speed Motorsports will campaign their pair of HPD ARX-03b Hondas at the 6 Hours of Shanghai World Endurance Championship event on November 2.
Allen Miller (Project Leader, Sports Cars, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “It was an unfortunate, early end to a difficult weekend. The Honda-powered OAK Racing team was fast throughout the event, leading night practice and the race morning warm-up, as well as posting the two fastest laps of the race. But mechanical setbacks struck repeatedly, and resulted in the team continually having to come from behind. Thanks to everyone at HPD for all of their hard work throughout the year. Now it’s on to Shanghai for the WEC race with Extreme Speed Motorsports where we hope to close out the season with a victory.”
Gustavo Yacaman (#42 Ligier JSP2 Honda) on the collision that ended their race: “First of all, I want to thank everyone at Honda Racing and HPD for all their efforts in putting this program together, and the entire OAK Racing team for their incredible energy and support over a long race weekend. I feel really bad for the team. I’m not sure if the collision was my mistake, but I’m just completely gutted for everyone working here now. The car was very, very fast. Even though we started at the back [due to a clutch issue in qualifying], we were able to move to the front and I thought we were in an excellent position to challenge for the win. It’s just a shame everything ended too soon.”