Honda Racing / Verizon IndyCar Series / HPD
2010 American Honda Motorsports Strategy
To the customers who utilize Honda products every day on roads and streets, auto racing reinforces the belief that Honda products are fun and exciting to use. For the Honda customers who race each weekend, Honda products provide a reliable means of experiencing a sport dear to their hearts.
Soichiro Honda, our founder, spoke frequently of racing's importance to his company's culture. Since 1948, Honda has used the sport of racing as a living expression of the "Power of Dreams." For 62 years, the dreams fulfilled by Honda on the race track have been a valuable symbol of Honda's commitment to fulfilling our customer's dreams.
In 2010, American Honda and Honda Performance Development will continue Mr. Honda's vision through a two-pronged strategy. First, the expanded sales of Honda performance products will provide customers with the dependability, quality, and reliability they expect from our brand. Second, we will continue to use motorsports as a promotional platform to reinforce Honda's brand attributes of fun and excitement.
2010 Racing Initiatives
Product Sales - Dream Fulfillment
The HPD grassroots motorsports initiative supports amateur racers through an integrated sales plan by expanding its line of premium racing products, merchandise, and additional services. Here's how that support will manifest itself in 2010:
- Honda Racing Line (HondaRacingLine.com)
In the recent past, American Honda has supported its customers' ambitions in amateur and professional road racing through the distribution of parts and contingency prize money to drivers using Honda or Acura products in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, and National Auto Sports Association (NASA) racing competition. The Honda Racing Line club was formed during the summer of 2009 as the first Honda entity to provide factory support for grassroots and entry-level professional Honda or Acura racers. To launch this program, a website portal (HondaRacingLine.com) was developed last year to offer club registration and expedited parts availability to qualified Honda Racing Line club members. Additional member benefits for 2010 include access to the most up-to-date service information through ServiceExpress, Honda's official online reference source for the independent repair community.
- FF Engine
HPD has begun the sale of fuel-injected L15A7 overhead-cam engines for competition in the SCCA's FF club racing category. The L15A7, developed from the Honda Fit production model, was proposed to the SCCA in July, 2009 and is approved for use in competition beginning March 1, 2010. Engines can be purchased as a complete package, featuring a base L15A7 engine accompanied by an FF conversion kit including intake, exhaust, dry sump, lightweight alternator, restrictor plate and Engine Control Unit. HPD also offers chassis kits for several of the most popular FF designs.
- Performance Parts
In early 2010, HPD began offering performance automotive parts for sale to registered Honda Racing Line members competing in amateur and entry-level professional racing series. The product line is comprised of HPD-designed parts and branded components, rigorously tested to help remove the uncertainty that results from a cluttered product landscape and give consumers the confidence that comes from HPD's years of success at the highest levels of motorsport. HPD is manufacturing many of the performance parts in-house and will co-brand other components with established leaders in the performance-parts industry.
- Crate Engines
HPD will offer a variety of crate engines for racing applications in 2010. To complement the FF product which will make its competitive debut during the spring of 2010, The HPD line of crate engines will offer a product for most competitive horsepower needs.
American Honda's Power Equipment Division has had a long relationship with the Quarter Midget Association (QMA). The organization promotes family fun while supporting the growth of driving skills. Honda Power Equipment will be the a national sponsor of QMA's three Grand National events in 2010.
Promotion - Building the Brand
"If we're going to build cars, it's better to do the hardest work now than later," Mr. Honda said when the company first entered Formula One competition in 1964. "The best place to learn is at the highest level."
Racing is ingrained in the corporate culture of Honda, in a way unlike any other major automotive manufacturer in the world. A former racer himself, company founder Soichiro Honda believed in competition – at the highest possible levels – as a means of improving his company, its people and its products.
Through its activities in pinnacle motorsports, Honda showcases fun, excitement, and the high quality and technical standards of its products. Street reliable; track worthy.
- Indy Racing League (Racing.Honda.com/Indycar)
Honda continues in its role as single engine supplier to the Indy Racing League's IZOD IndyCar Series. Dating to its 2003 entry into the Series, the Honda Indy V-8 engine has demonstrated its reliability in rigorous, 220-mile-per-hour race events. In 2010, American Honda continues to assist the Indy Racing League in recruiting additional engine manufacturers in an effort to provide Honda with the appropriate quantum of competition against other O.E.M. marques. The Indy 500 remains the largest single-day sporting event in the world, and provides Honda with a high-visibility platform for exposure of its products and engineering capabilities.
- American/European Le Mans Series Racing
Following a 2009 season during which HPD spearheaded the effort which saw Acura become the first manufacturer to win both American Le Mans Series prototype (LMP1 and LMP2) championships in the same season, HPD will support Patrón Highcroft Racing in ALMS prototype competition in 2010, and will also support Strakka Racing and Ray Mallock Limited (RML) Racing in the European Le Mans Series. All three teams have accepted invitations to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010.
- Professional Road Racing
HPD provides parts and contingency support for the professional road-racing efforts of RealTime Racing in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Series and Compass360 Racing in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series. These activities provide Honda with competitive sprint and endurance-racing environments in which to prove its products. Both teams won manufacturers' championships in their respective series during the 2009 racing season.
- Off-Road Racing
Honda continues its support of the California Race and Rally Honda Ridgeline team, which earned a class victory in the SCORE Desert off-road series at the prestigious Baja 1000 in 2008, as well as at the 2009 Baja 500.
- Honda Associate: Research and Support
A significant number of Honda associates participate actively in racing. Team Honda Research (THR) and Team Honda Research-West (THR-W) are racing teams comprised of Honda associates based in Ohio and California, respectively, who compete in SCCA and NASA events. THR members have won at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, NASA Championships, and the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. THR also includes teams that currently compete in rally, karting, and drifting.
The Honda of America Racing Team (HART) is comprised of associates from the Honda of America manufacturing facilities. HART competes in select events in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series, national-level autocross, and drag racing. Their racing activities help expand and diversify the skills which associates bring to their duties at American Honda.
The clubs test and utilize HPD's performance parts, and act as brand ambassadors at amateur events across the county.
Since 1993, American Honda and its motorsports subsidiary, Honda Performance Development (HPD), have constructed an unparalleled resume at the pinnacle levels of motorsport. Included on their extensive list of accomplishments are four Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Manufacturers' Championships and six drivers' championships; six IndyCar manufacturers' and drivers' championships, and unprecedented, simultaneous 2009 championships in both the LMP1 and LMP2 categories of American Le Mans Series (ALMS) prototype sports-car competition.
Honda has always viewed racing as an ideal training ground for engineers and designers. The pressures of racing challenge them, and force them to find immediate and effective solutions to problems as they arise. They also demand that you be ready on time – for each new season, for qualifying, and for the race. If you can't respond quickly and correctly, you'll be left behind.
Racing teaches teamwork. No single individual can bring success; racing is a group effort. And winning is the only standard by which you are judged.
"[Motorsport] is good for the engineers and good for the company image," Mr. Honda said. "In a race, a split-second can define the entire competition. One tire lengthcan decide whether you are a winner or a loser. If you understand that, you cannot disregard even the smallest improvement."