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Honda is increasing its commitment to racing in 2012 by officially sponsoring teams entering the Pirelli World Challenge thanks to growing interest in both the U.S. and Canada.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) provides components and support to teams ranging from amateur to professional levels. In the past the company supported teams in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Challenge Series, but will move into the Sports Car Club of America’s World Challenge and B-Spec categories as well.
“With the development of the 2012 Honda Civic Si for Touring Car racing and the introduction of B-Spec for both professional and club racing, it’s been a very busy off-season for HPD,” said Lee Niffenegger, HPD senior engineer responsible for production-based racing.
“There has been a definite upsurge in interest from both the U.S. and Canada for this year, and we’re looking forward to exciting seasons in Grand-Am, World Challenge and Canadian Touring Cars,” he said.
According to Honda, the Civic Si is the car of choice this year with at least five teams taking part in the 14-race schedule in the World Challenge Touring Car class. Cars that run these races range from being almost factory stock to heavily modified based on the series. World Challenge Touring Car entrants run on the less modified end of that spectrum.
In the B-Spec segment, Honda will race their Fit cars, which represents and inexpensive, entry-level option for racers to get into the sport.
Compass360, a Toronto-based racing team has long used Hondas to compete in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and Gand Am series and claimed first place in the 2010 Canadian Touring Car Championship for Honda.
This year Compass360 will also enter the World Challenge for Honda with a multi-car effort in the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge and Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
GALLERY: Compass360 Civic Si
Honda is truly out to prove a point that CR-Z owners can have their cake and eat it too. This isn’t the first time we’ve spotted Honda’s CR-Z Racer, created by Honda Performance Development (HPD). The vehicle debuted at SEMA 2010 and hit the track at the Thunderhill 25 Hours. And now it’ll show its stuff in front of a huge crowd at one of the most famed races in motorsports, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The CR-Z Racer still features the standard 1.5L hybrid powerplant but HPD has added a turbocharger giving the CR-Z 200-hp and 175 ft-lbs of torque. Clearly Honda’s goal is to market the CR-Z to both performance enthusiasts and those looking to save money with maximum MPG while still having a stylish coupe. This HPD CR-Z racer truly shows off some racing solutions specifically targeted towards hybrid vehicles. We’ll be very curious to see how it performs out at Le Mans in its demonstration laps.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Racer
Technically the SEMA Show doesn’t start until tomorrow but thanks to our spies inside we have these snap shots of just what potential Honda‘s new CR-Z has. The Honda Performance Development CR-Z Racer looks like a true racing machine and likely is with a fully stripped-down body, a lowered suspension, functional aero and some big 17-inch wheels with meaty racing slicks.
But the truly exciting mods are found under the hood, where Honda strapped a Borg Warner turbo to the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder to pump out 175-hp and 155 ft-lbs of torque. But that’s not all, Honda also rejigged the Integrated Motor Assist hybrid setup to produce added power that’s available with a Indy Car styled push-to-pass button. When pressed, the CR-Z makes a total of 200-hp and 175 ft-lbs of torque.
Other mods include an LSD and some big brake upgrades.
Hopefully Honda is serious about taking this car racing and we’ll be at the press conference tomorrow to find out.
GALLERY: Honda Performance Development CR-Z Racer
Hit the jump to view Honda’s SEMA Press conference:
Honda Performance Development is the first engine manufacturer to release details of an engine that complies with the ACO’s revised technical regulations that go into effect for the 2011 ALMS/Le Mans season. This new HPD LMP2 engine, based on Honda‘s global V6 engine used in everything from the Accord to the Acura ZDX, is a 2.8-liter twin-turbo that utilizes HPD’s exclusive engine-control system.
This engine is the product of a joint effort between HPD and Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA). Product R&D engineers from HRA’s Raymond, Ohio center worked with HPD race engineers to create a powerful racing engine that meets the new regulations that state that the engine must be production-based and must cost no more than $90,000.
It is expected that this new 2.8-liter turbo V6 will be fitted to Highcroft Racing’s P2 chassis for competition in the American Le Mans series, while in Europe it will be Strakka Racing putting this engine to use in the European Le Mans series. It’s unclear at this point if Highcroft and Strakka will be required to manufacture a new chassis for 2011 or if their existing P2 cars (which are currently powered by a 3.4-liter V8) will be allowed to run the new turbo V6. We’ll let you know as soon as these details become available.
[Source: Honda Performance Development]
When the clock struck 12 today at Le Circuit de La Sarthe, Audi took home a stunning sweep of the podium at this year’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With the Peugeot 908′s showing considerably more pace during qualifying, not even Audi Motorsports boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich would have predicted a 1-2-3 finish for their R15 TDI diesel-powered LMP1 machines.
According to Ullrich, “At the beginning it was a little unlucky for us but at the end it all worked fine. It’s a great reward for all the work that everyone [at Audi Motorsports] has done. I think this has to be the hardest Le Mans we’ve ever done.”
Dr. Ullrich was congratulated by his counterpart at Peugeot, Director of Motorsport Olivier Quesnel, straight after the race. Ullrich returned the favor by paying tribute to Audi’s arch rival Peugeot by remarking on the camararderie between the two teams. “In sport when someone wins then someone else loses, but when the loser comes and congratulates the winner it is all very sporting. That is what we did last year and that’s what Peugeot has done this year. It has been a fantastic battle, we’ve invited the Peugeot guys to a party tonight and we hope that they will all come”.
For Audi this is their 9th victory at Le Mans, tying them with Ferrari as the second winningest team in history (Porsche having 16 wins to their name). The winning #9 Audi, driven by Mike Rockenfeller, Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard, also set a new distance record by completing 397 laps at an average speed of 225.228 km/h.
This was also Michelin’s 19th Le Mans victory and the 27th time the race has been won by a German car.
Results from LMP2, GT1 and GT2 after the jump:
Honda Performance Development (HPD), a division of Honda that is behind motorsports activities like the company’s American Le Mans Series efforts, is launching a new program to help both professional and amateur racers.
Dubbed Honda Racing Line, this new grassroots motorsports initiative will allow members access to HPD and OEM products, as well as certain services. Members can log on to HondaRacingLine.com to see parts and even order them for expedited delivery.
Now celebrating 50 years in America Honda launched Honda Racing Line to help those Honda racers who have relied on their products. In turn Honda wants to raise its profile and the profile of Honda Racing int he U.S.
“For many years, Honda enthusiasts have campaigned our products in racing series throughout the U.S.,” said Erik Berkman, President of Honda Performance Development. “On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Honda brand in the United States, we are pleased to announce that we will now support those efforts directly, by introducing products and services geared toward helping our customers fulfill their racing dreams.”
Official release after the jump: