HPD extends Super Formula scholarship through 2023
Honda Performance Development (HPD) has announced that its Super Formula scholarship prize for the Formula Regional Americas series champion will continue for a further two seasons.
HDP first created the $600,000 scheme last year following Alex Palou's move from Super Formula to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2020, in a bid to create a Honda-powered alternative to the traditional 'Road to Indy' ladder system.
However, due to travel uncertainties amid the ongoing global pandemic, last year's FR Americas champion Kyffin Simpson turned down the chance to race in Japan in favour of a campaign in Indy Lights, in addition to a HPD-backed Michelin Endurance Cup program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura squad Gradient Racing.
Despite that setback, HPD has now confirmed that the next two FR Americas champions will be offered the same $600,000 prize fund to race for one of the Honda-powered teams in Super Formula.
Crucially, the prize now entails Honda's Japanese arm "identifying an appropriate Super Formula team for the FRA champion to compete in for the following Super Formula season," according to HPD's statement. Additionally, the recipient will serve as an "official Honda and HPD brand ambassador throughout the Super Formula season" and will be included in "Honda driver activities".
HPD also announced that the winner of the US Formula 4 series, the bottom rung on the ladder of its alternative IndyCar ladder system, will be given a $25,000 cash prize and engine lease for use in the following year's FR Americas season.
“This scholarship program is truly a global driver development opportunity and Honda-powered path to the top levels of racing," said HPD commercial manager John Whiteman.
“The Formula Regional Americas champion earns 18 FIA Super License points, and the Super Formula champion earns 25. In addition to preparing a driver to compete in the pinnacle levels of motorsports, winning both titles will earn a driver enough Super License points to exceed the 40 required for Formula One.”
For the 2022 Super Formula season, Honda has expanded to supplying 10 cars of an expected 21-car field (with Toyota supplying the remainder) and has added the newly-independent Team Goh to its roster of supported teams.
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