Sebring 12 Hours
HPD Defends Prototype ChampionshipsHighcroft Debuts HPD ARX-01e in LMP1, Level 5 Joins HPD With Worldwide LMP2 Effort
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (March 15, 2011) – Building on an extremely successful 2010, Honda Performance Development is expanding its sports-prototype racing program this year as the racing arm of American Honda works with four teams, campaigning in three separate championships around the globe.
Two of those programs begin this weekend, as the 12 Hours of Sebring heralds the start of the American Le Mans Series and serves as the opening round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Highcroft Racing, coming off back-to-back ALMS championships with HPD power, will debut the new HPD ARX-01e in LMP1; while Level 5 Motorsports unveils an ambitious program that sees the Wisconsin-based team field Honda-powered Lola LMP2 prototypes in both the ALMS and ILMC championships in 2011.
Two more HPD-powered LMP2 teams, Strakka Racing and RML Racing, begin their seasons in April at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France. Both will campaign HPD ARX-01d chassis in the full European-based Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011. In 2010, the teams finished 1-2 in the LMP2 championship, with RML taking the title and Strakka winning four times, including at Le Mans.
“Competing in separate championships in both Europe and North America last year was a huge undertaking for HPD, but our associates and team partners exceeded all expectations with titles in both ALMS and the Le Mans Series,” said Steve Eriksen, HPD vice president. “Now we’ve added one more team and one additional component – the ILMC – for 2011.
“The task will again be immense, but challenges like these are what motivate all of us at HPD.”
HPD’s latest entry into LMP1, the ARX-01e to be run by Highcroft, is based on the tub and 3.4-liter V-8 engine of last year’s championship-winning ARX-01c, but with all-new suspension and bodywork developed in partnership with Wirth Research, along with the larger air restrictor permitted under LMP1 regulations.
The latest member of the HPD sports-prototype program, Level 5 will undertake a global campaign using the new production-based, 2.8-liter, twin-turbocharged HPD HR28TT engine, developed to meet the new 2011 LMP2 regulations and mated to a trio of Lola chassis.
Based on Honda’s production-based global V-6 engine, the new engine utilizes HPD’s exclusive engine-control system, and is the product of a joint effort between HPD and Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA).
Two of the Level 5 cars will be based in the USA for the ALMS series and North American rounds of the ILMC, with the third Lola based in Europe for the remainder of the ILMC schedule and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The full-time Level 5 driver lineup includes team principal Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz; with Joao Barbosa and Ryan Hunter-Reay added for the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America. Founded in 1993 and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines. HPD is the single engine supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series and spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009-2010 American Le Mans Series, 2010 Le Mans Series and the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.