American Honda and its Honda Performance Development (HPD) subsidiary will power Rahal Letterman Lanigan in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, HPD and the team announced today.
Under terms of the agreement, HPD will provide its new, turbocharged 2.2-liter Honda Indy V-6 engines to all Rahal Letterman Lanigan entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series and at the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
"Many fans already know that the roots of Honda's relationship with Bobby Rahal and his team extend to our initial entry into American open-wheel racing in the early 1990s," said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development and vice president, corporate planning and logistics for American Honda.
"In addition to being our first partner when Honda entered Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) competition in 1994, the Rahal team also joined us when Honda entered the IndyCar Series in 2003 and joined us in Victory Circle with driver Buddy Rice for Honda's first Indianapolis 500 win in 2004. We're looking forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with Rahal Letterman Lanigan as IndyCar begins a new era of multi-manufacturer competition in 2012."
Designed at HPD's Santa Clarita, California, facility, the all-new Honda Indy V-6 engine began track testing in late October . Rahal Letterman Lanigan is the fourth team to align with Honda in preparation for the 2012 return of OEM competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series.
In May, Honda announced that Chip Ganassi Racing, winner of the last four IndyCar drivers' championships, would be its anchor team beginning next year. A.J. Foyt Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports will also utilize Honda power in 2012.
"We are pleased to once again be partnering with Honda," said team co-owner Rahal. "We have a storied history with Honda and respect its tradition of excellence in motorsports. In putting together our plans for 2012, we felt that having the full support of a proven winner such as Honda would aid us in building the strongest program possible, and we intend to represent Honda in the best manner possible."
Honda has been a fixture in North American open-wheel racing since 1994, and has played an active role in the growth of the IZOD IndyCar Series - as both a Manufacturers' Championship competitor and single engine supplier - since joining the series in 2003.
The company scored its first Indianapolis 500 victory - with the Rahal team and driver Buddy Rice - in 2004; IndyCar Manufacturers' Championships in 2004 and '05; and became engine supplier to the entire IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006.
Honda has supplied racing engines to the full, 33-car Indianapolis 500 field every year since 2006, and for a record-six consecutive years, there has not been a single engine failure in the '500'. The 2010 Indianapolis 500, won by Dario Franchitti, marked Honda's 100th race win as a manufacturer and engine supplier in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.
Founded in 1993, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America. HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines and operates at race circuits around the world from its headquarters in Santa Clarita, California.
In addition to its efforts in Indy car racing, HPD spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009-2011 American Le Mans Series, 2010 Le Mans Series and the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.
HPD offers a line of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; for professional, amateur and entry-level efforts.