Honda Performance Development today unveiled its largest customer endurance racing program to date, as six teams will campaign a total of seven HPD-powered LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes in the 2012 World Endurance Championship and the American Le Mans Series.
"In recent years, teams running HPD engines and chassis have delivered remarkable results at some of the world's greatest sports-car races," said Steve Eriksen, HPD vice president, "starting with an amazing LMP2 victory - and second and third overall finishes - at our endurance racing debut, the 2007 12 Hours of Sebring. Another highlight was Strakka's LMP2 victory and fifth-place finish overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010, also on our first attempt!
"Returning to LMP1, while continuing our LMP2 program, will be the biggest challenge yet for our engineers and associates," Eriksen added, "but I'm extremely confident in our capabilities and look forward to another exciting season in 2012. We expect that the proven design, development and engineering expertise of HPD and its technical partners will provide our teams with the tools they need to succeed. It will be an exciting season."
Three teams, all experienced, accomplished racing organizations, will campaign the new HPD ARX-03a in the LMP1 class. The British-based Strakka Racing group continues its three-year association with HPD, but moves from LMP2 to the premier category in the new FIA World Endurance Championship with drivers Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts.
Joining them on the WEC grid in 2012 will be JRM Racing, which comes to LMP1 after winning the drivers' title in the FIA GT-1 World Championship last season. Now, drivers David Brabham, Karun Chandok and Peter Dumbreck will have HPD's LM-V8 engine and new ARX-03a chassis at their command for the eight-race WEC schedule, which begins March 17 with the classic 12 Hours of Sebring endurance contest.
Sebring also marks the start of the 2012 American Le Mans Series, where Greg Pickett's Muscle Milk Racing team will debut the ARX-03a chassis it will campaign during the full ALMS schedule for team regulars Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr.
In addition to the LMP1 program utilizing the new ARX-03a chassis and proven HPD LM-V8 normally aspirated, gasoline engine, HPD will continue its support of the cost-capped LMP2 formula in 2012, which features the production-based HR28TT twin-turbocharged V6 engine powering the new HPD ARX-03b cost-capped LMP2 chassis.
Fresh off an undefeated LMP2 season with HPD power in the 2011 ALMS, Level 5 Motorsports returns to defend its team and drivers' championships, and HPD's LMP2 engine-manufacturers' title, with a pair of new ARX-03b chassis for regular drivers Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker. The team also plans on returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, following up on their strong third-place finish in LMP2 last year, in their inaugural attempt at the French racing classic.
Level 5 will be joined on the ALMS grid this year by Black Swan Racing, which will campaign an HPD-powered Lola B10/80 coupe after winning the ALMS GTC championship in 2010. The driving duo of team owner Tim Pappas and Jerome Bleekmolen now move up to LMP2 competition as part of the HPD lineup.
Another American-based team has announced plans to take part in the full WEC schedule, as the Florida-based Starworks Motorsport team completes the 2012 HPD sports-prototype lineup. Coming off a strong second-place finish at the recent 24 Hours of Daytona, the Starworks HPD ARX-03b will join the LMP2 grid for the first time with team regulars Ryan Dalziel and Enrico Potoliccio behind the wheel.
In 2011, Wirth Research and Honda Performance Development announced a new long-term technical partnership building upon the global successes achieved in recent years - a partnership that has produced numerous class and/or outright victories in all the world's premier sports-car races and championships, including the Le Mans 24 Hours and 12 Hours of Sebring.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America. Founded in 1993 and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines. HPD prepares and fields the Honda Indy V6 turbocharged engines used in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series; and spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009-2010 American Le Mans Series, 2010 Le Mans Series and the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.
HPD also participates in multiple U.S.-based Touring Car series; and administers The Honda Racing Line to provide racing enthusiasts and professionals with dependable racing products and support, from entry level to pinnacle forms of motorsports.
2012 HPD Sports Prototype Program
|FIA World Endurance Championship|
|LMP1||Strakka Racing||HPD ARX-03a||HPD LM-V8|
|LMP1||JRM Racing||HPD ARX-03a||HPD LM-V8|
|LMP2||Starworks Motorsport||HPD ARX-03b||HPD HR28TT V6|
|American Le Mans Series Championship|
|LMP1||Muscle Milk Racing||HPD ARX-03a||HPD LM-V8|
|LMP2||Level 5 Motorsports||HPD ARX-03b||HPD HR28TT V6|
|LMP2||Black Swan Racing||Lola B11/80 coupe||HPD HR28TT V6|