Make no mistake about it: Honda is big in racing. It was the first Japanese automaker to enter Formula One, remains the most successful and is set to return as an engine supplier next season. It's powered more IndyCar race winners and champions than any other manufacturer, hands down. Honda has won races and titles in Super GT, WTCC, even motorcycle racing. Just about everything this side of NASCAR, really. And that includes endurance sports car racing.
Honda Performance Development
Acura debuted its TLX GT racecar at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, and it looks like the racer is set to get its first competitive outing in Motown as well. The RealTime Racing team is competing with a single car driven by Peter Cunningham for the Pirelli World Challenge rounds during the Detroit Grand Prix from May 30 through June 1.
Racing fans at Sebring are plenty used to seeing Honda powering into the winner's circle, the Japanese motor company having claimed class victories at the endurance race in Florida in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Those were all in the LMP2 category, but with the Twelve Hours of Sebring now part of the combined United SportsCar Championship, Honda is branching out into another class: Daytona Prototypes.
Honda is following Ford's lead and debuting the second twin-turbocharged V6 to be used by Daytona Prototypes in the United Sports Car Championship. The wait won't be long to see it on track because the new engine will debut with the Starworks Motorsport team in a Riley Gen3 prototype chassis at the 12 Hours of Sebring from March 12-15.
Honda Performance Development will continue its involvement in IndyCar through the 2012 season when new engine and chassis rules take effect. The current, normally aspirated 3.5-liter V8s will be replaced after the 2011 season with smaller displacement and lower cost units that are limited to 2.4-liters. Honda announced this weekend at the Mid-Ohio race that it will produce a new twin-turbocharged 2.4-liter V6 available for lease at a price 40-percent below the current engine's price.
Honda's certainly been at the center of the green-car universe these days with their recent annoucements of a 2009 fuel cell vehicle, 2009 50-state clean diesel, flex-fuel engines for Brazil, variable displacement motorcycle engines and Advanced VTEC. Adding to the list, Crash.net reports a successful debut test of the 100 percent ethanol engines for the 2007 Indy Racing League season.
Testing began for Acura's 2007 American Le Mans Series program this week with a two-day test at Firebird International Raceway in Arizona. Acura's brand new LM V8 engine was fitted to a Lola B05/40 chassis for the test by Lowe's Fernandez Racing, led by owner/driver Adrian Fernandez, and Honda Performance Development.