TORRANCE, CA (November 17,1999) - At the start of the 1999 CART FedEx Championship season few believed Honda, it's drivers and teams could top the 1998 "Triple Crown" winning effort: Manufacturer's Champion, PPG Cup driver's title, and Rookie of...
TORRANCE, CA (November 17,1999) - At the start of the 1999 CART FedEx Championship season few believed Honda, it's drivers and teams could top the 1998 "Triple Crown" winning effort: Manufacturer's Champion, PPG Cup driver's title, and Rookie of the Year,
But 1999 proved to be the best year ever for Honda in Championship Car racing.
During the course of the 20-race '99 season Honda-powered drivers scored a total of 14 race victories, four of them 1-2-3 sweeps of the podium. Both statistics were new single-season records for the manufacturer, along with the record 13 qualifying poles scored by Honda drivers and teams this year
Honda repeated as CART Manufacturer's Champion, the third such title for the company in the last four year& Honda drivers finished 1-2-3 in the PPG Cup points standings for the third consecutive year, and sensational Juan Montoya became the first CART rookie to also win the PPG Cup since Nigel Mansell in 1993
'Although appearances might indicate otherwise, this season was the most challenging year yet for Honda in Champ Car racing," said Tom Elliott, Executive Vice-President of American Honda and President of Honda Performance Development- "While we take pride in the titles won by our drivers, the Manufacturer's Championship is the one we strive for, and take pride in ourselves- It means a lot to Honda Performance Development and all Honda associates."
All of this was accomplished with the Honda HRS Turbo V-8 racing engine, prepared and maintained by Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, California.
"The Honda UPS is an evolutionary development of the HRK series engines used in 1993,' said Robert Clarke. General Manager of Honda Performance Development- -With the strong competition presented this season by Ford Cosworth, Toyota, and Ilmor-Mercedes-Benz, I'm very proud our people rose to the occasion. Repeating as champion is a great tribute to all the hard work and dedication of everyone at HPD and our associates at Honda R&D in Japan."
Four teams and a total of eight drivers utilized Honda power in 1999: Target/Chip Ganassi Racing with drivers Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser, Team KOOL Green with drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy; McDonald's Championship Racing with driver Tony Kanaan; and Walker Racing with drivers Gil de Ferran, Naoki Hattori and Memo Gidley
Fast Facts: Honda's 1999 Championship Season
Honda-powered drivers scored a total of 14 CART FedEx Championship Series race wins in 1999, a new single season record for the company. The previous mark was 13 victories, set last year
Honda captured the CART Manufacturer's Championship for the third time in the last four years. Honda's other two championships came in 1996 and again in '98. For the third consecutive season, Honda-powered drivers finished 1-2-3 in the final PPG Cup driver's championship.
Honda, it's drivers and teams also successfully defended the CART "Triple Crown" of major titles: Manufacturer's Championship, PPG Cup and Rookie of the Year - both won by Target/Chip Ganassi Racing's Juan Montoya,
Montoya also led the way for Honda with seven race victories (Long Beach Nazareth, Rio de Janeiro, Cleveland Mid-Ohio, Chicago and Vancouver).
Team KOOL Green Drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy scored multiple race victories to finish second and third in PPG Cup standings. Franchitti (winner at Toronto, Detroit and Australia) was CART's most consistent top-three finisher this season; while Tracy also was a multiple-race winner (Milwaukee and Houston)
Other Honda-powered race victories were scored this year by Gil de Ferran (at Portland) and Tony Kanaan (the US 500 at Michigan Speedway).
Honda now has 45 Champ Car victories in 105 races since the manufacturer entered the CART FedEx Championship Series at the start of the 1994 season.
Honda-powered drivers qualified on the pole at 13 FedEx Championship Series races this season, another single-season record for the company. Once again, Montoya led the way with 7 poles, followed by Franchitti and de Ferran (2 each), Jimmy Vasser and Kanaan also qualified on the pole this season for Honda.