Grand Prix of Indianapolis Talking Points

Grand Prix of Indianapolis
May 10, 2014
3:30 p.m. EDT
ABC

COMPETITION

  • This weekend's Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be the first Verizon IndyCar Series road race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and will serve as a prelude to the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25.
  • Honda comes to Indianapolis after winning the April 27 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, where 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay scored his first win of 2014, leading a 1-2 Honda-powered finish with his Andretti Autosport teammate, Marco Andretti, finishing second. 
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsport's Simon Pagenaud continued his run of top-five finishes this year with a fourth-place result at Barber.  He previously finished fifth at both St. Petersburg and Long Beach.
  • The 2014 season marks the third season of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier.  Chevrolet and Honda are again battling for supremacy throughout the 18-race season.
  • In 21 years, Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of the American Honda Motor Co., Inc., has grown from just a handful of staffers to approximately 150 associates; and from a simple engine-rebuilding facility to a complete motorsports Research & Development organization.  HPD is engaged in programs ranging from pinnacle racing series including the Verizon IndyCar Series, FIA World Endurance Championship and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, to grassroots and entry-level categories including karting, Quarter Midgets and Formula F competition.
  • HPD has spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 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.  In 2012, Starworks Motorsport 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-03b chassis and Honda HR28TT V6 engine, prepared and developed by HPD.

MARKETING/COMMUNICATIONS

  • On Tuesday, May 6, Honda IndyCar drivers Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Pippa Mann and Josef Newgarden visited the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana auto assembly plant in Greensburg, IN, approximately 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.  The drivers took a tour of plant facilities, including a ride around the plant's test track in a quartet of just-completed Honda Civics, and conducted a marathon, 2 ½-hour autograph session for plant associates.
  • Opened in 2008, HMIN is Honda's newest North American auto assembly plant, with approximately 2,000 associates, and has the capacity to build up to 200,000 Honda and Acura vehicles annually.
  • On Wednesday, the HPD Tech Center opened its doors to Car and Driver, as the magazine's technical editor, Don Sherman, was able to experience the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in a Honda-powered Indy car – through the use of the HPD Driver-in-the-Loop simulator – and also was able to observe Honda IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud as he also made runs in the state-of-the-art racing simulator. 
  • On Friday, Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti will be the featured guest at a Media Availability at the Honda Hospitality Motorcoach on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The question-and-answer session will run from 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and is open to the media.
  • Honda Performance Development products for United States Auto Club competition will be featured at the Indy Fan Village, located inside the Speedway, throughout the month.  Display items will include a Quarter Midget with Honda's GX160 engine; a USAC Honda/HPD Midget with the Honda K24 crate engine; a USAC National Midget with the HPD K20/K24 Hybrid engine; and a USAC Midget driven by the legendary A.J. Foyt in 1961.
  • Additional HPD vehicles will be on display at the Honda Product Tent, including an HPD CR-Z with the street performance package; HPD B-Spec Rally Fit and a Mygale Honda Formula F, as raced in a variety of North American professional and amateur championship series.

HONDA RACING/HPD VIDEOS

  • Video News Releases from this weekend's Verizon IndyCar Series action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are being posted on a new, specially created "Honda Racing/HPD Trackside" YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group.Headed by longtime motorsports broadcaster Rick Benjamin, CPG will be providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events during 2014.  The videos can be found at:  youtube.com/hondaracingtrackside. 
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