The first 2013-spec Honda Performance Development, (HPD) ARX-03c LMP1 car – incorporating larger front tires as well as other significant performance upgrades – will test for the first time at the Motorland Aragon Circuit in Spain, November 18-20.
British team Strakka Racing will conduct this inaugural test. Strakka's ARX-03a, which achieved considerable success in this year's FIA World Endurance Championship, has been subjected to an exciting upgrade package taking it to '03c' (2013) specification. This upgrade includes wider Michelin front tires, plus new front-suspension geometry, steering configuration and bodywork.
As with its multiple race and championship-winning HPD ARX predecessors, the latest ARX-03c has been designed and developed with Wirth Research, taking full advantage of the company's renowned all-digital aerodynamic and chassis development processes. Power comes from HPD's efficient normally-aspirated 3.4-liter, V8 gasoline engine.
Strakka's regular drivers, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis, as well as Klaus Graf – who won the ALMS LMP1 crown in a Muscle Milk Pickett Racing-run HPD ARX-03a – will be behind the wheel at the test. Graf will fill the seat vacated by Danny Watts, who will be away in Asia on Macau Grand Prix duties during the Aragon test.
The test will almost certainly be viewed with great interest by privateer teams currently competing at LMP1 level, as well as others looking to graduate to the premier class of sports prototype racing.
HPD Vice President Steve Eriksen commented: "In 2009, HPD showed the future direction of LMP1 car design by pioneering the use of large rear tires on all four wheels of its radical, championship-winning LMP1 Acura ARX-02a prototype.
"Since then, all rival LMP1 manufacturers have adopted this concept, and the 2013 HPD ARX-03c will feature this large front-tire format, along with a raft of aerodynamic and mechanical updates, boosting all-around performance."
Located in Santa Clarita, California, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America. In 2012, HPD teams and drivers swept both the LMP1 and LMP2 sports prototype championships in the American Le Mans Series, and won the FIA World Endurance Championship in LMP2 – along with the LMP2 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – in partnership with Starworks Motorsport. In the IZOD IndyCar Series, Honda won this year's Indianapolis 500 with driver Dario Franchitti.