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The American Le Mans Series got a huge boost Wednesday with the announcement in New York by the Acura division of American Honda Motor that it plans to enter the ALMS series in 2007 - with the ultimate goal of racing in the premier LMP1 class at Le Mans! The announcement marks the first factory motorsports program for the Acura brand in its 20-year history.

In the words of John Mendel, senior VP of Auto Operations for Acura, "Our entry as a full factory team in the American Le Mans Series will accurately reflect Acura's position as a leader in automotive performance and technology."

The Acura ALMS program features the first race engine developed from scratch by Honda Performance Development in California, which also supplies engines to the Indy Racing League.

By the sounds of it, Acura is in sports car competition for the long haul. In 2007, Acura powerplants will power multiple LMP2 chassis from Lola and Courage, as a prelude to development of a complete Acura LMP1 chassis and engine package to compete in the ALMS and ultimately at Le Mans. Acura's LMP2s will debut at the 2007 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, and testing will begin this summer.

Acura has competed in the upper echelons of sports car racing before, although never as a full factory effort. Acura engines powered Spice cars in the IMSA Camel Lights series to three consecutive championships in the early '90s.

More pictures of Acura's ALMS concept after the jump!

[Sources: Honda, American Le Mans Series]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      a 99-00 Civic Si makes 100hp per liter and runs on 87 octane, thank you very much. Near perfect rod ratio (1.73), and amazing volumetric efficiency. AND it gets 30 mpg. WHAT A CONCEPT! Sorry to burst your bubble Christian.

      When the president of Honda was asked what American car companies should do to compete with Japan, he said, "they should try harder."
      • 9 Years Ago
      #1 - LMP1 and LMP2 cars all pretty much look a like. Although, it does look a lot like the R8/R10. Check out the photogallery from 12 Hours of Sebring from this past March. http://www.americanlemans.com/Gallery/Photos.aspx?ID=61&GalleryID=5

      #2 - LMP1 gets very expensive, and Audi has been the only manufacturer to consistently put up the money to finish on top. It's good to see Honda/Acura try and compete.

      Le Mans is not necessarily about going fast. It's about how reliable, and how fast you can fix your car. I'm curious who will be driving -- they need to keep the car out of trouble, and pass the slower traffic safely.
      • 9 Years Ago
      There is as much R10 in the design as there is R10 in the Courage or the Pescarolo.
      The R10 has an open design for the front suspension. The side pods are much wider where they meet the splitter.
      As for the double hoops, I think it's a regulation for 2006 cars, 2005 cars being able to get around it.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is great news! I wonder if they'll be using a Ford engine?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Actuallly the R8 production car will not use the racing engine as that is impossible. A racing engine is so different from street engines that it does not make sense both economically and technacally to adapt it to street use. However, the sucess of the R8 in le mans probably led to approval of the road going car.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I see a lot of the R10 in this concept. A lot. The front the rear wing the double solid roll hoops. I see a copy of the R10, but it will make the racing more interesting with three factory backed teams in Le Mans in 2007, Audi, Pegout and Acura.
      • 9 Years Ago
      One has to wonder - with the engine from the Audi R8 being used in its upcoming namesake road car, will this Acura engine show up in the next-gen NSX, or whatever Honda/Acura call it?
      • 9 Years Ago
      #9, why would they consider or even need a Ford engine when Honda/Acura makes some of the most efficient engines in the world, where as Ford...
      • 9 Years Ago
      The engine looks like the Honda IRL engine. Likely increased displacement to 3.4 liters or so and "converted" (modified) to run on gasoline rather than on IRL methanol.