- 2021 Formula Regional Americas Champion to receive scholarship for 2022 Super Formula Championship series
- HPD joins Honda Motor Co., Ltd. to offer new scholarship
- New program supports champion to accelerate Honda-powered career to pinnacle racing
Santa Clarita, CA (January 18, 2021) – Honda Performance Development (HPD) has joined with Honda Motor Company, Ltd., to offer a scholarship program to the Super Formula Championship for the winner of the 2021 Formula Regional Americas series.
The FIA*-supported Formula Regional Americas Championship provides talented young racers the opportunity to develop their skills in a state-of-the-art open-wheel chassis powered by the latest version of the iconic Honda Civic® Type-R® power plant.
The internationally respected Super Formula series is the top level of open-wheel racing in Japan featuring high downforce Dallara chassis powered by engines making in excess of 500hp. Successful graduates of Super Formula include Pierre Gasly and Honda-powered INDYCAR driver Alex Palou, who was a race winner, championship contender and series Rookie of the Year in 2019.
“What an amazing scholarship” said Chip Ganassi Racing driver Palou, who moved to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES last year after a season in Super Formula in 2019. “I’m sure it’s going to be the strongest and most successful scholarship, and it’s much needed for so many drivers nowadays. The racing level in the Super Formula series is really high and demanding for a driver. You can then use all that experience in INDYCAR. I’ve been lucky enough to get to experience the highest level of racing in Japan and now in the US, and I can’t thank enough Honda, Dale Coyne and Team Goh for the amazing opportunity of becoming an INDYCAR driver, now with Chip Ganassi at the highest level. I’m now facing the best moment of my career driving for the most successful team in the championship. I can’t wait to share track with the next Honda Scholarship Champion!”
Supporting the next generation of racing talent is a fundamental value of HPD. As a committed partner to the F4 U.S. Championship, the FR Americas Championship and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, HPD and Honda Motor are proud to expand their support for the FR Americas champion to include the scholarship value of up to $600,000 for participation in the 2022 Super Formula series.
“I am very pleased with this new program as it is a collaboration between HPD and Honda Motor for a true global driver development program,” said John Whiteman, HPD Commercial Motorsports Manager. “This past year, Alex Palou demonstrated that Super Formula can fully prepare a driver for INDYCAR racing success. Progressing from Formula Regional Americas to Super Formula can be a clear, fully Honda-powered path to INDYCAR.
“The Formula Regionals America champion earns 18 FIA* Super License points, and the Super Formula champion earns 25,” Whiteman added. “Winning both titles will prepare a driver to compete in INDYCAR and earn enough Super License points to exceed the 40 required for Formula One.”
Promoted by Parella Motorsports Holdings, LLC, FR Americas is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and features the spec JS F3 chassis designed and sold by Ligier Automotive in North Carolina, which meets the most advanced global FIA safety specifications, including the first North American application of a race car Halo. The car, running on proven Hankook tires, is powered by a 303-horsepower Honda Performance Development version of the Honda Civic Type-R turbocharged K20C1 motor.
The FR Americas Championship aligns with the global FIA development ladder philosophy of using common components to provide a cost-efficient, reliable, and powerful racing structure as drivers ascend through the levels on their way to U.S. or global racing success.
“We are so excited that the 2021 FR Americas champion will receive such an unprecedented opportunity from Honda and HPD,” said PMH President and CEO Tony Parella. “We look forward to growing our partnership with HPD to continue to develop drivers at a grassroots level.”
The 18-race FR Americas calendar will feature iconic venues across the United States and Canada. The official 2021 FR Americas season commences at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta March 26-28.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Who is eligible for the champion scholarship prize?
Any driver who signs up for the championship and earns the most points during the 2021 FR Americas Champions series Powered by Honda so long as the FIA minimum number of races and competitors are achieved.
What is the value of the scholarship?
The scholarship is valued at up to $600,000. Because the champion prize is supported by HPD (in USD) and Honda Motor (in JPY) the value may vary based on exchange rates but will not exceed $600,000.
Does the prize cover all costs associated with racing the Super Formula Series?
The prize covers a substantial portion of the cost to run a full Super Formula season. Budgets vary among Super Formula teams and the champion award winner will be responsible to cover any gap between the prize and the total cost to run a season.
Does the prize include an engine supply for Super Formula?
Yes, the champion prize winner will race with a Honda powered team and the engine supply will be provided by Honda Motor in Japan.
Does the prize include travel, room, and board in Japan?
The champion will receive guidance from Honda Motor and will be given the opportunity to participate in Honda sponsored events such as tours of the Honda Museum at Motegi, Aoyama HQ and Honda Thanks Day! The champion prize winner will be responsible for travel, living and immigration logistics.
Will the champion prize winner be responsible for selecting a Super Formula team?
Honda Motor will select a Honda powered team for the champion prize winner to compete for in 2022.
Will HPD or Honda connect the champion prize winner to INDYCAR teams?
Yes, HPD will connect the champion prize winner to the Honda powered INDYCAR teams through a first right of refusal contract with the champion prize winner. If schedule allows, HPD will host the champion prize winner at an important INDYCAR race in 2022. Based on readiness, logistics and preparedness, HPD will make efforts to facilitate an INDYCAR test in 2022 for the champion prize winner.
Where can I find out more about Super Formula?
The Super Formula website provides current series information: Link to site. Super Formula origins stretch back to 1973. Drivers who have competed in Super Formula include Takuma Sato, Pierre Gasly, Pietro Fittipaldi, Patricio O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Stoffel Vandoorne, Tatiana Calderon and Alex Palou.
How competitive are Honda powered cars in Super Formula?
The series is very competitive however Honda has powered two of the past three champions in Super Formula (2018, 2020).
Do I need to learn how to speak Japanese?
Knowledge of the Japanese language is not required. It is recommended to do some self-guided research on Japanese culture and effective communication strategies to make a smooth transition.
About Honda Performance Development:
Honda Performance Development, Inc., (HPD) has a rich heritage creating, manufacturing, and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers since 1993. From pinnacle racing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and IMSA Sports Cars to commercial racing programs, HPD powers the dreams of professional and amateur racers from age 4 to 40+. HPD is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and leads all of Honda and Acura’s high-performance racing programs in North America. HPD specializes in the design and development of race engines, chassis and performance parts, as well as technical/race support. HPD offers parts and race support to Honda and Acura amateur and professional motorsports racers, and is continually expanding its palette of racing programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of pro racing.
*Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile