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Honda Indy Grand Prix of Long Beach Talking Points
Grand Prix of Long Beach
April 21, 2013
4 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network
HONDA PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT 20TH ANNIVERSARY
- In April, 1993, Honda Performance Development was founded in Santa Clarita, California as the competition arm of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Starting this month, HPD will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with a variety of events and activities.
- In 20 years, HPD has grown from just a handful of staffers to approximately 150 associates; and from an engine-rebuilding facility to a complete motorsports Research & Development organization, engaged in programs ranging from pinnacle racing series including the IZOD IndyCar Series, FIA World Endurance Championship and American Le Mans Series to grassroots and entry-level categories including karting, Quarter Midgets and Formula F competition.
- Drivers and teams using HPD products have won 196 Indy car races and the last nine Indianapolis 500s, both in years with multi-manufacturer competition (2004-05, 2012); and as single engine supplier to IndyCar from 2006-2011.
- In years of multi-manufacturer competition, Honda has claimed six Manufacturers' Championships in Indy car racing; and Honda-powered drivers have won eight drivers' championships. No other manufacturer has won as many titles in the past 20 years.
- HPD spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009, 2010 and 2012 American Le Mans Series; the 2010 Le Mans Series; and powered the LMP2-winning team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2010 and 2012. Last year, the Florida-based Starworks team became the first American racing organization to win an FIA World Championship since 1969, claiming LMP2 honors in the 2012 World Endurance Championship using an HPD ARX-03c chassis and Honda HR28TT V6 engine prepared and developed by HPD.
- On Monday, April 22, the day after the Grand Prix of Long Beach, all 12 Honda-powered IZOD IndyCar Series and several ALMS drivers will visit Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, followed by a visit to American Honda corporate headquarters in Torrance.
ENGINE MANUFACTURER COMPETITION
- The 2013 season marks the second season of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Honda will again battle for supremacy throughout the 19-race season and at the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.
- Honda will field 12 drivers and teams this weekend at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, anchored by the three-car Chip Ganassi team, which includes four-time series champion and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, 2008 series champion Scott Dixon; and rising star Charlie Kimball.
- Other drivers and teams using the turbocharged Honda Indy V6 engine this weekend include Takuma Sato with A.J. Foyt Racing; veteran Canadian Alex Tagliani with Barracuda Racing/Bryan Herta Autosport; Justin Wilson and Ana Beatriz with Dale Coyne Racing; Graham Rahal, James Jakes and 2011 Long Beach winner Mike Conway with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing; Simon Pagenaud and IndyCar rookie Tristan Vautier with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports; and Josef Newgarden with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.
- From 2006-2011, Honda supplied engines to every IndyCar Series competitor. A total of 98 drivers raced with the Honda Indy V-8 during that period, with 15 drivers recording race victories. Honda engines logged approximately 1.2 million miles of practice, qualifying and racing in the series; and nearly 500,000 actual race miles.
- During the six years that Honda served as IndyCar engine supplier, the company also provided engines to the full 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field - and for the only six times in Indy 500 history (2006-2011), there were no engine failures recorded in the Memorial Day weekend classic.
- Honda's popular "Fastest Seat in Sports" sweepstakes continues at Long Beach, with two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk at the wheel of the two-seat Indy car. He will take Annie Kouba of West Chicago, Illinois, on the ride of a lifetime around the challenging Long Beach street circuit in advance of the green flag for Sunday's race. Interested fans can find out more information on the "Fastest Seat in Sports" at shophonda.com.
HONDA ACCORD SAFETY CAR
- The new 2013 Honda Accord Coupe made its debut as an IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car at the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. This Accord was originally built by Honda of America Manufacturing in Marysville, Ohio, and developed into a series Safety Car at Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.
- The new Accord joins an existing fleet of IZOD IndyCar Series Honda Civic Si coupe and sedan Pace Cars; and Pilot and Ridgeline trucks utilized by IndyCar officials and safety team members throughout the 2013 season.
Modifications installed on the Accord by HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit; Firestone Firehawk high-performance tires mounted on Enkei alloy wheels; and an IndyCar Series graphics package.