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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
Highcroft Racing has dominated the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series for the past 4 years, but the program didn’t seem to be doing much to promote the Acura brand. In light of that, the car will now be branded as a Honda Performance Development car, a move that signals both a positive shift for Honda’s in-house go-fast division, and a bad omen for the company’s beleaguered luxury division.
This year, Highcroft will be campaigning their new entry in the much tougher LMP1 class. Patron will also no longer be sponsoring the car, having decided to instead sponsor the ALMS series as a whole. Michelin will step up to provide the funding for Highcroft. The new car, dubbed ARX-01e, will share the same tub and 3.4L V8 as the LMP2 cars of years past, but everything from the suspension to the aerodynamic package will change to make the car more competitive for LMP1.
With legendary race cars like the Audi R15 and Peugeot 908HDi as the top dogs of LMP1, Highcroft will have a tough fight ahead of them if they want to gain any ground. The first race, held in Sebring, Florida, kicks off Saturday.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
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]
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: