Finishing second Sunday in the P2 category at a thrilling Six Hours of Fuji in Japan, the Florida-based Starworks team clinched the 2012 P2 teams title in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the first world championship in the 19-year history of Honda Performance Development.
The Honda-powered HPD-03b crossed the finish line almost a minute ahead of the third-place finishing OAK Racing Morgan Nissan, but more important, three positions ahead of the Pecom Racing Oreca 03 Nissan, the closest competitor to Starworks for the P2 title.
The result clinched the championship for Starworks with one race remaining, and caps a year that also saw the team win the P2 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Six Hours of Sao Paulo in its first year of world championship competition.
It also is the first world championship for engine and chassis supplier HPD of Santa Clarita, California, and the first FIA world championship for an American-based organization since the 1968, when Ford won the FIA International Championship for Manufacturers.
In the P1 category, the British-based JRM team had its strongest outing of 2012, finishing fifth overall and second in the privateer category for independent teams in its HPD ARX-03a.
After six hours of intense competition, the JRM trio of David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck finished just eight seconds ahead of fellow HPD-equipped private team of Strakka Racing and drivers Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts.
Making its debut with Honda power in LMP1, the French OAK Racing team of Bertrand Baguette, Dominik Kraihamer and IZOD IndyCar Series regular Takuma Sato completed 210 laps for an eighth-place finish.
The World Endurance Championship now heads to China for the season-ending Six Hours of Shanghai on October 27.
Ryan Dalziel (#44 Starworks HPD ARX-03b) finished 9th overall and 2nd in P2 to clinch the P2 Teams’ Championship in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the first world title for Honda Performance Development: “It will probably take a little while for our Championship win to sink in.
It was a program that I felt kept getting stronger and stronger. When you look at the results we have had, it is incredible that a first-year team with no experience in motorsports outside of North America – and with engineers that had never been outside America – could come here and do this.
It all comes down to having the right people in place. We took the decision in going for the Honda HPD chassis, then the Dunlop tires worked really well with the car.
A lot of our success came from having a reliable car, not necessarily the fastest car. It is incredible to put your name next to a world championship.
I don’t care whether it is a team championship or a driver championship, in racing it is a team and we all deserved to win this.”
Steve Eriksen (Vice President, Honda Performance Development) on Saturday’s Six Hours of Fuji and HPD’s first world championship: “This evening we achieved our very first World Championship as Honda Performance Development.
Winning the World Championship caps a season where we also won the P2 class at the Sebring 12-hour race and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
This accomplishment is a result of hard work by everyone at HPD, our technical partners at Wirth Research and Dunlop, and the Starworks team that put trust in our associates and our products.
The P2 field in this year’s World Endurance Championship was a very competitive one. Despite fielding just a single entry in the class, we were able to come out on top in all of the key races, and now the championship.
Clinching the championship here in Japan was also nice icing on the cake, as it allowed Honda fans and associates to savor the victory alongside our partners. There is still one race left in the WEC season, so let's do our best to end it with another success in Shanghai.”
Source: HPD Racing