American Honda and its Honda Performance Development (HPD) subsidiary will power Sam Schmidt Motorsports 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 Schmidt entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series and at the Indianapolis 500.
"Following a decade of achievements – and four championships – in Indy Lights, Sam Schmidt Motorsports has logged additional impressive results since the team's return to full-time IndyCar competition this year." said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development and vice president, corporate planning and logistics, for American Honda. "Included among those accomplishments are the pole position at this year's Indianapolis 500 and a second pole two weeks later in Texas."
"We believe that Sam, Team Manager Rob Edwards and the rest of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team have established a solid foundation for future success. We look forward to working with them to achieve our joint goals of race wins and IndyCar Series championships."
Designed at HPD's Santa Clarita, California, facility, the all-new Honda Indy V-6 engine is now under development, with initial track testing scheduled to begin this month. Sam Schmidt Motorsports is the third team to align with Honda in preparation for the return of OEM competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012.
In May, Honda announced that Chip Ganassi Racing, winner of the last three IndyCar drivers' championships, would be its anchor team beginning next year. Earlier this month, A.J. Foyt Racing became the second team to adopt Honda power for 2012.
"Honda's success both on and off the track is unmatched," said Sam Schmidt Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt. "I believe its total commitment to performance, reliability and integrity as a company is perfectly aligned with the goals of Sam Schmidt Motorsports and its partners. We look forward to what we hope will be a long and very productive relationship."
"I have raced with Honda and against Honda, and I would always wish to race with them. Racing is part of Honda's DNA," noted Edwards. "We look forward to working with the other Honda-powered teams to develop the 2012 IndyCar package and continue Honda's winning heritage."
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 in 2004 with Buddy Rice; 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.
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.
In addition to its efforts in Indy car racing, HPD 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 offers a line of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; for professional, amateur and entry-level efforts.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports was established in 2001 and is owned by former driver Sam Schmidt, who was paralyzed in 2000 after an accident during testing at Walt Disney World Speedway in Florida. A full-time IndyCar Series entrant in 2001-2002, Schmidt moved to the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, where it became the most successful team in the history of the series, with more than 45 race victories and four championships.
The team returned to full-time IZOD IndyCar Series competition when it acquired the assets of the FAZZT Race Team in March 2011.
Additional Honda-powered teams for 2012 will be announced in the future.