The Board of Directors of the Sports Car Club of America has ratified a Honda Performance Development, Inc. proposal to begin supplying Honda Formula F engines for competition in the SCCA's Formula F (FF) class in 2010.
Through its introduction to the category, HPD hopes to strengthen FF's position as the first step in American open-wheel racing.
"We look forward to launching our FF program at the outset of the 2010 club racing season," said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development. "We hope that this initial step in HPD's new grassroots motorsports initiative will help make the FF class more affordable and more competitive."
The Honda Formula F engine is based on the Fit L15A7, a 1.5-liter engine that can be installed into several existing FF chassis. Testing has shown that the Honda engine provides performance equal to the long-out-of-production "Kent" engine, while featuring a modern fuel-injected design with superior service life, improved availability and lower operating costs.
A prototype, utilizing a Swift DB-1 chassis and HPD-developed bolt-on conversion kit, made its public debut during the FF 40th Anniversary Celebration at Road America in late July. The Swift-Honda, along with a Honda FF engine mated to a Citation chassis, was also on display during last month's SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America.
The Honda FF engine has been developed by Honda Performance Development in cooperation with Sandy Shamlian of Quicksilver RacEngines. The engine was developed to equal the performance of the Kent powerplant through utilization of an HPD-developed intake restrictor plate and appropriately mapped Engine Control Unit (ECU). If additional performance adjustments are required, changes can be made to the restrictor plate and/or the ECU maps to achieve this goal.
"Many of us, myself included, have been involved in FF racing," said Marc Sours, HPD Production Division Manager and Large Project Leader for HPD's grassroots projects. "We believe that introduction of the modern, less-expensive Honda FF engine can restore interest in and raise the profile of FF to a point where it once again becomes the place for young drivers to begin their careers, and where current SCCA club racers will find economical, close competition."
Original equipment in the 2009 Honda Fit, the L15A7 is a fuel-injected, 1.5-liter, overhead cam engine, at the beginning of its current production generation. Per Honda corporate policy, a minimum of 10 years' parts support is mandated at the conclusion of production.
HPD will supply all parts from intake through exhaust, including multiple chassis conversion kits. The result will be a modern and reliable engine requiring minimal maintenance and tuning.
Specifically, HPD expects to offer FF competitors the opportunity to reduce their engine operating costs. Engine rebuilds will be reduced, while competitors should also experience a reduction in the need for top-end refreshing. In addition, crankshaft and valve-spring life should be extended dramatically; and most ignition and all carburetor maintenance will be eliminated.
The first conversion kit offered will be for the venerable Swift DB-1. This complete, race-ready package will sell for $11,750. It will include a base L15A7 engine, FF engine conversion kit (including intake, exhaust, dry sump, restrictor plate and ECU), and a bolt-in DB-1 chassis conversion kit, to permit installation of the engine without welding or other major modifications. Individual component parts will also be available for purchase separately.
Delivery of kits will begin in early February of 2010 and will follow in the order that requests are received. Deposits of $500, which will ensure a place on the delivery list, are being accepted. For more information, please contact:
Honda Performance Development, Inc.
HPD is working on two additional conversion kits for the Swift DB-6 and Van Diemen (1999-current) chassis. Market release of these kits is also expected prior to the 2010 club racing season.
Beginning with its initial entry into Formula One in 1964, Honda has a lengthy record of involvement in open-wheel racing around the world. In addition to its well-known accomplishments in IndyCar, CART and Formula One competition, Honda Motor also has an extensive history as an engine supplier in lower open-wheel formulae, including Formula 3, Formula Master, Formula Nippon and Formula Dream.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is Honda's racing company within North America. Founded in 1993, and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for Honda and Acura's high-performance racing cars and engines. In addition to its new grassroots motorsports business, HPD is the single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series and spearheaded Acura's championship-winning efforts in the 2009 American Le Mans Series.
Quicksilver RacEngines (QSRE) is a private company in Frederick, MD owned and operated by Sandy Shamlian since 1973. QSRE engines have been a staple in open-wheel and sports-car racing, logging countless professional and amateur race wins and championships in the USA, England, Venezuela, Australia & Canada in classes such as Zetec F2000, Formula Continental, Sports 2000, Formula Atlantic, and FF1600.