IRL: Honda Accord Hybrid announced as pace car

HONDA ACCORD HYBRID NAMED INDYCAR SERIES PACE CAR INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, March 24, 2006 -- The Honda Accord Hybrid will serve as Official Pace Car for the 2006 IRL IndyCar® Series season, IRL officials announced, marking the first time a car ...

HONDA ACCORD HYBRID NAMED INDYCAR SERIES PACE CAR

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, March 24, 2006 -- The Honda Accord Hybrid will serve as Official Pace Car for the 2006 IRL IndyCar® Series season, IRL officials announced, marking the first time a car utilizing hybrid technology has been used to pace a major auto racing series.

The Delphi IRL Safety Team also will use Honda vehicles in 2006, operating a fleet of Honda Ridgelines as well as a Honda Pilot, all outfitted with state of the art equipment for the various safety and medical needs of the team.

Now in its second year of production, the Accord Hybrid features Honda's third generation of the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) that operates in combination with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology to deliver high levels of fuel efficiency from the 3.0-liter Honda V-6 engine, along with highly responsive and powerful performance. The result is an SAE-rated 253 horsepower and 232-foot pounds of torque.

"The IndyCar Series has long been recognized for its leadership in motorsports safety and innovation," said Brian Barnhart, president & COO of the Indy Racing League. "We are proud to partner with Honda in rolling out the Accord Hybrid Safety Car, a motorsports first."

The Accord Hybrid's list of technical features includes more than just hybrid engine technology. Electric Power Steering enhances steering response, Drive-by-Wire throttle control enhances acceleration, and a four-wheel independent suspension provides the handling required for an IndyCar Series pace car. The air conditioning system also features hybrid technology that switches to an electric compressor to keep occupants comfortable when the vehicle is not in motion.

Modifications to the Accord Hybrids required for IndyCar Series Pace Car duty include a safety roll cage and high-performance wheels and tires for race track use. The Accord Hybrids will be used at all domestic IRL races in 2006, except the Indianapolis 500.

Honda Performance Development (HPD), a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., is the single provider of engines in 2006 for the IRL IndyCar Series. Honda joined the IRL at the start of the 2003 season, and late last year announced a new plan to continue as an engine supplier in IndyCar racing through the 2009 season. HPD will prepare and maintain the Honda Indy V-8 engines used by all teams for competition in the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.

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The IRL IndyCar Series opens the 2006 season with the Toyota Indy 300 at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast is also carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition opens with the Miami 100 at 12:30 p.m. on March 26 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be telecast at 1 p.m. on March 31 by ESPN2.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Brian Barnhart