IRL: Honda, Acura to sponsor 2007 Mid-Ohio races

Honda, Acura Combine To Sponsor IndyCar, American Le Mans Series Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course TORRANCE, Calif. (Nov. 21, 2006) - American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today that it will be the title sponsor of a joint ...

Honda, Acura Combine To Sponsor IndyCar, American Le Mans Series Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

TORRANCE, Calif. (Nov. 21, 2006) - American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today that it will be the title sponsor of a joint IndyCar Series/American Le Mans Series race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 20-22, 2007.

The three-year agreement opens with the Acura Sportscar Challenge, the seventh round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series, taking place on Saturday, July 21. The Honda 200 IndyCar Series race follows on Sunday, July 22, as the 12th round in the open-wheel racing series marks the return of Indy-style competition to Mid-Ohio for the first time since 2003.

"There are many reasons why this monumental racing weekend is such a great fit for Honda and Acura," said John Mendel, senior vice president of auto operations for American Honda. "There is our long-time presence in Ohio as a manufacturer, Honda's tradition in open wheel racing, currently as single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series; and now in the American Le Mans Series, where Acura will be powering multiple teams in its first year of competition.

"Add to that our decade-plus partnerships with both the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Mid-Ohio School, which has brought us tremendous exposure as Official Vehicle and Official Pace Car," Mendel continued. "Finally, we're bringing Honda's and Acura's highest-profile domestic racing programs virtually into the backyards of more than15,000 company associates who are based at our plants in Marysville, East Liberty and Anna. We're thrilled to play a significant role in this historic racing weekend, and we are extremely grateful to our partners at IndyCar, the American Le Mans Series and Mid-Ohio for helping to make it happen."

"We've enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Honda and are thrilled with their involvement in this new event," said Michelle Trueman Gajoch, president of TrueSports, Inc. "Honda's passion for performance - combined with our rich motorsports tradition - will undoubtedly translate into a thrilling weekend for our fans and the thousands of Honda associates that work and live in Ohio."

Following three seasons of competition against General Motors and Toyota, Honda became the single engine provider for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series in 2006, with 84 Honda HI6R Indy V-8 engines built, prepared and maintained over the course of the 14-race season. Forty drivers logged a total of 171,179 miles at racing speeds in 2006, with only three race-day failures during the entire season.

The 2007 season will mark the first time HPD has taken on multiple, concurrent motorsports programs in both the Indy Car Series and American Le Mans Series.

The Acura Motorsports program in the American Le Mans Series will feature the first racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, California, Honda's wholly-owned racing subsidiary. Three teams will campaign Acura-powered LMP2 entries in 2007: Andretti Green Racing, Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing, Ltd.

The American Le Mans Series draws on the heritage of long-distance "endurance" sports car racing in both Europe and the United States, as exemplified by the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The series includes the 12 Hours of Sebring - a U.S. fixture since 1952 - plus events at the country's premier road circuits, including Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Laguna Seca, Miller Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta.

The combined race weekend is poised to become the largest and most significant motorsports event in the state of Ohio, and has the potential to become the world's largest gathering of Honda associates. Honda operates three manufacturing plants in central and western Ohio with more than 15,000 workers, approximately two-thirds of all Honda associates in the United States.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course features a permanent road-racing circuit with two primary configurations: a 2.4-mile, 15-turn, and a 2.25-mile, 13-turn circuit, plus an amateur motocross venue. The park-like, 330-acre complex is located 60 miles north of Columbus and 75 miles south of Cleveland near Mansfield. The track has been called the most competitive in the U.S. and annually hosts a diversity of local, regional and nationally-sanctioned racing events for both motorcycle and auto racing.

Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, TrueSports, Incorporated is a privately held motorsports entertainment enterprise. The company owns and operates Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, and promotes a wide variety of motor racing, driver instruction, corporate, and family entertainment events throughout the year.

Honda is the Official Vehicle and Official Pace Car of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School, and American Honda Motor Co., Inc. serves as title sponsor to six of The Mid-Ohio School's defensive and high- performance driving programs.

-credit: honda racing

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