HPD Blog

Thursday, March 6, 2014

HART kicks off the season at Daytona with the new 2014 Honda Civic Si

Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge: BMW Performance 200 recap for HART Racing

After a long winter break, HART is ready to start the 2014 season with a new 2014 Honda Civic Si and its current 2012 Civic Si from last season.  The driver lineup will stay mostly the same with Chad Gilsinger and Michael Valiante driving the #93 and Steve Eich, Kevin Boehm, and John Schmitt sharing duties for the #92 car.  The crew has been spending the off-season updating equipment, tools, and most importantly, practicing pit stops.  Races are often won or lost in the pits, and HART is sure to be one of the teams to watch down pit lane.

With temperatures being below zero and snow covering the ground, the Ohio-based team had a rough few days loading for this season’s opener, but everyone is always excited to head down south to Daytona.   The team has always been strong on the famous Daytona circuit and was leading the race last year until suffering brake pad failure, which forced it  to retire.  After testing with multiple brake pad manufacturers, the team is confident that reliability will not be an issue this year.
Practice 1 would set the tone as each team went on track to kick off the 2014 season.  The off-season work and continuous improvement from the team paid dividends early as it led the first practice session, setting the bar for the weekend.  Knowing the car was strong, the team used the second practice session to fine-tune the chassis that would keep the car consistent throughout the entire 2.5 hour race.  New for this year, teams are required to start the race on the same tires they qualify on, so it will be more important to manage tire wear, even in qualifying.  Qualifying is once again a 15-minute shootout for each class.  At a track like Daytona, it is critical to get a draft. Without a draft, you can lose 1-1.5 seconds of lap time, which could cost you 10-15 spots on the grid.  The team decided to partner with other teams to try and work with one another out on track.  John Schmitt qualified the #92 car while Chad Gilsinger qualified the #93 car.  Both cars were slotted solidly in the middle of the field in the early laps, but the team knew both cars were stronger.  It’s all about timing, and Gilsinger was able to time the draft in the last few laps of qualifying, laying down a 2 minute, 04.861 second  lap on the last lap which put him  second on the grid, only 0.092 seconds off of pole.  Schmitt was unable to catch a good draft and had to settle for 18th in the 35-car field.

On the morning of race day, the team used its final practice to focus on pit stops.  The drivers would do ‘out’ and ‘in’ laps to practice actual ‘hot’ stops in the pits, just as they would in the race.  This was valuable testing as the team was able to set up the equipment perfectly for the race.  As practice came to a close, the team only had a couple of hours to get the cars ready for the race.  The weather was the best it had been all week, with sunny skies and brisk 60-degree temperatures.  The green flag would drop at 1:45 p.m. to begin the 2014 season.   Both cars had a great start, as #93 battled with two BMWs for the lead and #92 was able to use the draft to move through the field. The #93 would continue to swap places between 3rd and 4th with another Civic Si, but the two BMWs up front were gaining a little bit each lap.  The 6th-gear ratio in the Honda is great for fuel economy in public use, but at 150 mph, it could not keep up with the Autobahn-designed gearing of the BMW.   Meanwhile, the #92 car was able to pick up some spots and made sure to stay with the pack until the first round of pit stops.

A yellow-flag came out just before the halfway mark, so HART decided to take the opportunity to pit both cars for driver changes.  Michael Valiante would take over the #93 car and Kevin Boehm would now pilot the #92.  This year, the new IMSA timing and scoring system logs total time from or ’Pit In’ to ’Pit Out’ for each car.  The HART crew lived up to  its reputation and proved that practice does make perfect as both cars were serviced in almost exactly the same amount of time and their pit stops were among the top  five best times  among all the teams!  At this point, it was up to the drivers. 

After the first round of pit stops, Valiante was still in the top five on track and Boehm was right around mid-pack.  Both drivers were anxious to move to the front, but the second half of the race was littered with cautions that restricted passing and ticked time off the clock.  Valiante was able to move up to fourth while battling with another Civic Si fielded by the Compass 360 team, and Boehm was attempting to move into the top 10.  With about 15 minutes left in the race, Valiante and the Compass Civic Si were nose-to-tail while approaching a lapped car going into the “bus stop” turn at 140 mph.  The lapped car did not yield to the leaders and caught the Compass car off-guard, causing him to take an evasive maneuver which led to contact with the HART car, and the rest is history.  Once again, the bad luck streak at Daytona showed its head, as the Civics made contact with each other and then the wall.  The race was done for the #93 car, and would now end under caution to clean up all the debris.  This would ultimately hurt the #92 car as well, forcing it to finish in the 13th position under caution.

“It’s not really the result we were hoping for, but at least we know we have strong cars”, said crew chief Andrew Salzano.  “The crew did an awesome job during the pit stops and the drivers showed our competitiveness. We did everything right, but we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The damage to #93 was limited to mostly bolt-on parts, so the team should be able to repair the cars quickly for the next race in mid-March at Sebring.  This will be the first time the team has been to Sebring in many years and the first time it will run the Civic Si there.  This first race was filled with plenty of ups and downs, but the HART team has high hopes moving forward.  This being Race One of a 12-race series, the excitement has just begun.

You can follow all the action on the new IMSA website, www.imsa.com
The next event will be at Sebring on March 12-15th.  This will mark the first time for many HART members to visit this historic track.
To keep up with HART’s progress and to see pictures and video of the cars and team, Like us on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/HARTracingteam )
Follow HART on Twitter @HARTracingteam

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

HPD B-Spec Rally Fit Conquers 100 Acre Wood

Salem, MO. (Feb 21-22, 2014) – HPD and THR head to 2014 100 Acre Wood Rally with B-SPEC Honda Fit

THR partnered with HPD to showcase the B-Spec Fit developed specifically for Rally competition at the second round of the Rally-America National Championship. 

“We had a fantastic 2013 season, where we were able to finish first in the B-Spec National Championship, and fourth in the 2WD overall National Championship.  Based on that success, we wanted to come back and build on that success by refining the B-Spec package for the Honda Fit," stated James Robinson, Honda Engineer and driver for THR.  “Looking forward to 2014, we hope to have more competition and excitement in the class, thanks to the continued involvement of Ford Racing and Toyota.” 

The B-Spec Rally Fit started the 2014 season with a win in the B-Spec Championship at the Sno*Drift rally.  “We were excited to get the season started with a win, and also to make it through the challenging snow and ice event without any issues,” Robinson said prior to traveling to the 100 Acre Wood Rally.  Based on the experiences from 2013, the team was hopeful to repeat its success in the fast gravel event held in Missouri. 

HPD and THR started the second round of the 2014 Rally-America championship series with a lot of excitement. Starting out on the mostly dry and fast roads, the Fit was able to build up a five-minute lead over the other B-Spec Toyota Yaris. 

“The road conditions are fantastic, and we’re really having a great time out there,” Robinson said following the eighth stage. “We’ll try and push the pace a bit to try and keep up with the faster 2WD cars.” 

Moving into the second day of competition, which included nine new stages, the B-Spec Fit continued to grow its lead over the Toyota Yaris. By afternoon, conditions had warmed enough for the team to gain some additional time.  “The afternoon stages really felt good for us, and we are able to push the pace of the Fit to its limit,” said James.

Finally, the B-Spec Honda Fit was able to hold off the Yaris and claim victory in the second round of the 2014 B-Spec National Championship. The Fit finished fifth-fastest overall in 2WD, and averaged 20.2 MPG over the course of the entire event.

“We were happy to finish with nearly a 20-minute lead over our competition and have no real issues throughout the event. The Fit was fantastic all weekend,” Robinson said afterward. “We’re excited to have to good finishes so far, and hope to carry that momentum into the third round of the Rally-America National Championship!”

 Look for the Honda Fit at the next round in Orgeon!

About 100 Acre Wood Rally:

The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is the second race of the Rally America National Championship and is known as one of the most scenic. Named after the storybook home of Winnie the Pooh, the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is a picturesque race with enough twists and turns to test every driver’s ability. Set in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, this race is always a favorite due to its pristine surroundings and fast, tight roads. Although you won’t see Winnie the Pooh or any of his friends, you will see some of the best rally driving on some of the best rally roads in North America.

About Rally America:
Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship which consists of at least seven national-level events located at a variety of venues across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Newry, Maine. Top competitors in the Rally America National Championship reach speeds of well over 100 miles per hour, driving highly modified street cars such as Mitsubishi Evolutions, Subaru WRX STIs, Ford Fiestas and Scion XDs on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt, ice or snow. For more information regarding Rally America’s National Championship or the sport of performance rally, visit www.rally-america.com

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Formula F Growth Continues as 2014 Season Begins

The 2014 professional Formula F season kicked off in January with the start of the Pacific Formula F1600 Championship at Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles, while several new teams and drivers announced their plans for the upcoming F1600 Formula F Championship Series plans were announced for a Formula F “45th Birthday Party” at Barber Motorsports Park in August.

Pacific F1600 Championship at Auto Club Speedway

In California, the Pacific F1600 Championship opened January 17-19 at the 2.88-mile infield road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, with veteran Ethan Shippert and young newcomer Nikita Lastochkin each claiming a victory in the first doubleheader race weekend of the season.

Rookie Lastochkin, who recently announced plans to compete in both the eastern and western Formula F championships this year, qualified on the pole both days and led portions of the first race until a spin and late-race electrical issues ended his day.  Veteran Shippert then went on to claim his second career Formula F win, and first of 2014. 

In Sunday’s finale, Lastochkin again got off to a quick start and was never headed for his first professional Formula F victory.  Shippert survived wheel-to-wheel contact on the opening lap with Chuck Horn, as the latter’s Swift-Honda vaulted over Shippert’s Piper-Honda under braking for the first turn.  Both were able to continue with Shippert finishing fourth and Horn, fifth. 

Next up for the Pacific F1600 Championship Series is the April 25-37 SCCA doubleheader weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway.  More information on the series is available at www.pacificF2000.com. 

F1600 Formula F Adds New Drivers, Teams

The eastern U.S.-based F1600 Formula F Championship season doesn’t open until April, but a number of new drivers have already announced their plans to take part in the 14-race series, along with three new teams.

Florida-based Team Pelfrey brings a heritage of IndyCar competition to Formula F as it joins the series with a powerful, three-car lineup headed by 20-year-old Ayla Agren, who scored a pole and three podium finishes in 2013. 

Augie Lerch, a 17-year-old graduate or SKUSA’s Spec Honda shifter kart class, is a promising rookie find for Pelfrey; along with 21-year-old Garth Rickards who won a Skip Barber race series event at Homestead, Florida, in 2013, in his first year of racing. 

HP Tech, a two-time winner of the Ferrari Challenge Championship and the 2012 F2000 Championship with driver Robert La Rocca, enters to Formula F for the 2014 season with the successful Australian-build Spectrum Honda chassis.  Spectrum-mounted Jake Eidson won the 2013 Formula F title, and moves up to the USF2000 Championship in 2014.   Veterans Scott Rubenzer, Art Foster and Mike Scanlan also will be Spectrum-mounted in 2014.

Virginia-based WISKO Race Engineering had a very successful debut Formula F season in 2013, challenging for the title with driver Aaron Telitz.  Nikita Latsochkin, already a winner in the west coast-based Pacific F1600 Championship, also will drive a WISKO Mygale Honda in the eastern series.  He will be joined by rookie Will Harvey, coming to Formula F from the Bertil Roos Racing Series. 

The 14-race 2014 F1600 Formula F Championship Series opens April 11-13 at Road Atlanta for the first of seven double-header weekends.  Additional information on the F1600 Formula F Championship Series can be found at http://www.f1600series.com/.

Formula F To Be Featured at Barber Summer SpeedFest

The 45th birthday of Formula F class will highlight the SCCA Summer SpeedFest at Barber Motorsports Park, August 9-10.  Three classes of Formula F machines – Formula F, Club and Vintage – representing the beginning of Formula Ford through the modern day National Championship contenders, will run on the anniversary weekend, which will run as part of a doubleheader SCCA race weekend.

A large turnout is expected at the Barber circuit, located in Birmingham, Alabama.  The celebration comes five years after HPD unveiled its new engine for Formula F during the Formula F 40th Birthday Party at Road America in 2009. 

Since the Honda L157A engine became eligible for Formula F at the start of 2010, more than 100 engines have been sold by HPD, and the category has experienced exponential growth, including an increase in SCCA Club Racing competition, the start of two new professional racing series in the USA and an increasing number of young racers graduating from karting to Formula F competition.

A detailed schedule for the two-day weekend will be announced soon, but the schedule is expected to include a practice, qualifying and 30-minute sprint races on Saturday, with a warm-up and longer 50-mile races on Sunday. More information on the SafeRacer SCCA Club Racing program can be found at www.scca.com.   



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Honda Performance Development Unveils 3.5-Liter Prototype Engine

For more information: 
T.E. McHale  (310) 783-3169
Dan Layton   (314) 614-9763

For Immediate Release

Honda Performance Development Unveils 3.5-Liter Prototype Engine

·         Starworks Motorsport to Debut HR35TT at Sebring

·         Latest Racing Application of Production-Based Honda V6 Engine

·         Two-Team HPD Effort In TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Feb. 20, 2014 – Honda Performance Development Thursday announced a new, 3.5-liter racing application for the versatile, production-based Honda V6 engine found in a wide range of Honda/Acura passenger cars and light trucks and now raced in multiple categories worldwide.

The Honda HR35TT twin-turbocharged V6 is expected to make its TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut at the 2014 Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring, mounted in a Riley Gen3 prototype chassis campaigned by Starworks Motorsport.

Previously, Starworks partnered with HPD to win the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship in 2012, using HPD’s ARX-03b chassis and Honda HR28TT twin-turbocharged V6, which also is derived from Honda’s J35 series of engines. 

Starworks becomes the second team to utilize Honda power for the new TUDOR championship.  Extreme Speed Motorsports campaigns a pair of prototype class HPD ARX-03b Hondas, after a successful initial season with the same package in the 2013 American Le Mans Series.

“This is an exciting program for HPD and our customer teams in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship,” said Steve Eriksen, HPD Vice President and COO.  “Adding Starworks, a team that achieved great success with us in 2012, in a prototype machine alongside the proven HPD-Honda combination run by Extreme Speed Motorsports provides HPD with a strong, balanced attack in the inaugural TUDOR Championship.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to be partnering with Honda once again,” said Starworks team owner Peter Baron.  “No doubt we had amazing success with HPD in 2012, but unfortunately it was only a one-year program.  We have had numerous conversations over the past two years about building a Daytona Prototype motor and we're thrilled to see it come to fruition.  We absolutely love working with HPD and have been in collaboration to find a new opportunity to partner with them again.  We will have our work cut out with the steep learning curve to get us to Victory Lane, but HPD brings determination and success to every program it touches.  Although HPD already competes in the Prototype class, we feel this is huge step for the TUDOR series and Starworks is thrilled to be part of it."

Starworks Motorsport has compiled an enviable record in Daytona Prototype competition, with five race victories, including back-to-back wins at Indianapolis in 2012 and 2013; and a second-place finish in the Daytona Prototype team championship in 2012, with two victories and six podium finishes.  That same year, Starworks became the first American-based prototype team to win an FIA World Championship since 1968, and HPD won its first world title in WEC competition. 

The HPD-developed twin-turbocharged Honda engines to be used in the TUDOR championship are both derived from the Honda J35 series of production V6 engines, and include relevant twin-turbocharger technology, along with the efficiency provided by direct fuel injection.  

The HR35TT is yet another competition application of the ubiquitous J35 engine.  The first, the HR28TT, was designed for LMP2 competition and won in its American Le Mans Series debut in 2011.  The engine has gone on to record 24 individual race victories and three series titles in the American Le Mans Series, World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series Competition.

Other variants of the engine have been raced in Japan’s Autobacs SuperGT Championship, the One Lap of America competitive rally and Pikes Peak International Hillclimb.

Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda performance company within North America.  Located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines. The company is marking its 20th anniversary in 2013.

As an engine supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series, Honda has scored 204 race victories in both CART and IZOD IndyCar Series competition since 1994, and powered Scott Dixon to a series-high four victories and the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series drivers’ championship.

HPD offers a variety of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; and showcases “fun-to-drive” products for professional, amateur and entry-level racers.

Honda HR35TT V6 Engine

  • Engine Type                 Aluminum alloy, twin-turbocharged, direct fuel-injected V6  
  • Displacement               3.5 liters
  • Valve Train                   Single overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder
  • Crankshaft                   Alloy steel
  • Pistons                         Forged aluminum, low-friction coatings
  • Connecting Rods        Machined alloy steel
  • Engine Management   HPD/McLaren
  • Ignition System           Digital inductive
  • Lubrication                  Dry sump system
  • Cooling                        Single mechanical water pump
  • Fuel                              E10 100-101 octane gasoline, 10% ethanol


Thursday, February 6, 2014

HPD and THR Head to 2014 Sno*drift Rally with B-Spec Honda Fit

Atlanta, MI. (January 24-25th, 2014)

Team Honda Research continued its partnership with Honda Performance Development to showcase the B-Spec Fit developed specifically for Rally competition at the Sno*Drift Rally, the first round of the 2014 Rally America National Championship. 

Returning for the 2014 season, the B-Spec Fit team was looking forward to starting the difficult Sno*Drift rally and defending its 2013 B-Spec Championship title. With an increased number of strong 2WD entries from both Ford and Toyota, the first round would be hotly contested on the cold and treacherous roads of northern Michigan.

“We’re excited to be back for the beginning of the 2014 Rally America season,” said Honda B-Spec Driver James Robinson, “Sno*Drift is a unique event to the Rally America series, and we’re confident that the changes we’ve been working on for the Fit on will improve our competitiveness here.”

With nine stages to contest on Day One, the Fit set off with Jordan Guitar again filling the co-driver seat. “Our goal this weekend is to showcase what the B-Spec Fit can do in the wintery conditions,” said Guitar, “The weather is very cold, with high winds, and should be a challenging event.”

By Stage 5, the Fit was running fast and clean, managing to squeeze out a seven-minute lead over the B-Spec Yaris entry, and keeping pace with some of the more powerful 2WD cars. “The roads are slick right now, with lots of cars sliding off the road and getting stuck,” said Robinson at the first service, “but I’m gaining more confidence with each stage, and we’re really starting to get into a great rhythm.” 

As a testament to the Fit’s capability in the icy conditions, the cars of two competitors were pulled from snow banks during the first day’s competition.  “We know how frustrating it is to get stuck on stage, and with the gap we had built up over the B-Spec competition, we had a bit of margin to stop and help some fellow competitors,” James noted. “Usually, this results in only a minute or two of additional time, but it really is the heart of rallying.  Even though we are in direct competition with each other, it’s normal for rally teams to help each other out.”

As Day 1 drew to a close, the team of Robinson and Guitar had amassed a 40-minute lead over the B-Spec Toyota. The Fit had some minor damage, however, as the slippery conditions of Stage 8 had left them without the front bumper, which was ripped off during an impact with a snow bank. “We had a minor impact with a snow bank on Stage 8,” said Robinson, “but the car is still running strong, so we’ll do a thorough check tonight and return at full strength for tomorrow’s stages.”

As Day 2 got underway, the Fit continued to add to its lead over the other B-Spec competitors. By the first service, the Fit had added another six minutes to its advantage and continued to keep pace with some of the Top 2WD cars. “We’re having fun today,” stated Guitar at the Atlanta Service, “the car is running strong and James is driving great, so we’re going to try and maintain our momentum.”

Stage 14 proved to be a problem for the Fit, however. About 1.5 miles into the stage, one corner proved more slippery than predicted, and the car slid through the corner and got stuck in the snow bank on the other side. “We lost a little bit of time on that stage,” reported Robinson at the second service of the day. “We’re going to try and push a bit more through the remaining stages to see if we can catch the top 2WD cars.”

At the end of the event, the Fit had finished first in B-Spec, and had managed a third-place finish in 2WD overall. “We are very happy with our results this weekend,” said Robinson after the event. “This is a great way to kick off the 2014 season, and gives us good confidence going into the remaining events.”

Look for the THR B-Spec Fit to continue in its hunt for the championship next month at The Rally in the 100-Acre Wood in Salem, MO.

About Rally America:
Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship, which consists of at least seven national-level events located at a variety of venues across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Newry, Maine. Top competitors in the Rally America National Championship reach speeds of well over 100 miles per hour, driving highly modified street cars such as Mitsubishi Evolutions, Subaru WRX STIs, Ford Fiestas and Scion XDs on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt, ice or snow. For more information regarding Rally America’s National Championship or the sport of performance rally, visit www.rally-america.com 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rally Fit Champ

Houghton, MI. (October 18-19th, 2013) – HPD and THR head to 2013 Lake Superior Pro Rally with B-Spec Honda Fit

Team Honda Research partnered with Honda Performance Development to showcase the B-Spec Fit developed specifically for Rally competition at the Lake Superior Pro Rally (LSPR), the seventh and final round of the Rally America National Championship. 
 Moving into the final National Championship round, the B-Spec Fit was already assured of the Manufacturers’ Championship, based on its strong finishes through Round Six.  With the B-Spec drivers’ and co-drivers’ championships also locked up over the second-place Toyota team, LSPR would promise to be an exciting, albeit somewhat relaxing, event to finish the 2013 season.
“We wanted to come to LSPR to finish the season strong, and also extend a chance to have the President of Rally America co-drive for us,” said Honda B-Spec Rally driver James Robinson at the beginning of the two-day event. “It’s important for everyone to experience Rallying, and we couldn’t have had a better championship situation to allow us to bring in a guest co-driver.”
With nine stages to contest on Day One, the Fit set off with the new team of James Robinson and Bill Fogg Sr.  “Our goal for this event is to give Bill a chance to see Rallying from a new perspective, and to also have a great time!” James said.  The full THR crew came to support the last-round effort, so there was plenty of support to keep the B-Spec Fit running strong.
By Stage 4, The Fit was running clean, with no issues.  “Bill is really picking up the notes quickly and I’m gaining more confidence to push the pace a bit!” stated James at the first major service of the day.  “At this rate, we might be able to give the B-Spec Toyota Yaris a good fight this weekend.  I’d love to help Bill finish his first race, and get him his first win, as well.”
By the end of Day 1, the new team of James and Bill had worked up a five-minute gap over the B-Spec Toyota and had finished the day with no road points or mechanical issues with the car.  “This is really an incredible result for someone who has never co-driven before,” said James at the finish of the first day.  “Not only has Bill gotten better on each stage, but we’re now building up a good lead over the Toyota.”
Starting Day 2, the B-Spec Fit cleaned up and readied for the last eight stages of LSPR.  Having had no issues a day earlier, the team elected to make no changes to its setup.  “We really have no issues to address and our main focus is to keep our lead in B-Spec and stay on the road,” James said at Parc Expose.  “The course was pretty slippery yesterday; we’re hopeful that the sun stays out and we get a few dry stages.”
Despite a wild weather mix of sun, rain, and sleet, the B-Spec Fit continued to gain speed and confidence.  “I think we’re both having a great time today, and it’s a good opportunity for us to yet again showcase the reliability and adaptability of the Honda Fit,” Robinson said at the second service of the day.
By the final stage, the B-Spec Fit had built up a solid 10-minute lead over the second place B-Spec Toyota.  “Bill has helped us to keep our pace up over the last eight stages, and this puts us in a great place for wrapping up the 2013 season,”  Robinson noted.
At the end of the LSPR event, the Fit had finished first in B-Spec, sixth in 2WD, and 15th overall.  “We couldn’t have asked for a better finish to the event, or to the season,” said an elated James at the finish.  “With the strong result today, we were not only able to win the B-Spec Manufacturers’ Championship, but also the Drivers/Co-Drivers Championship, and finish fourth overall in the two-wheel-drive category!”
Look for the THR B-Spec Fit to defend its title next year in the 2014 Rally America B-Spec Championship
About Rally America:
Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship, which consists of at least seven national-level events located at a variety of venues across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Newry, Maine. Top competitors in the Rally America National Championship reach speeds of well over 100 miles per hour, driving highly modified street cars such as Mitsubishi Evolutions, Subaru WRX STIs, Ford Fiestas and Scion XDs on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt, ice or snow. For more information regarding Rally America’s National Championship or the sport of performance rally, visit www.rally-america.com

Touring Car Wrap-up

Honda Claims Pirelli World Challenge Title As Touring Car Seasons Conclude

The Compass360 duo of Ryan Winchester and Brett Sandberg recorded the ninth and tenth victories of the season for the Honda Civic Si at the season-ending Grand Prix of Houston earlier this month, as Honda dominated the Touring Class Manufacturers’ Championship in the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge.

In all, Honda drivers won 10 of 14 races in 2013, with only Michael Cooper’s mid-season string of four consecutive wins in his Mazda3 interrupting the Honda march to the manufacturers’ crown.

Winchester successfully bookended his season to take the drivers’ championship, winning the final round at the Houston temporary street circuit to go along with victory at the season-opening round at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.  Four more victories – for a total of six – and regular podium finishes in all but one round of the 14-race championship secured the title for Winchester.

“Consistency really paid off this year,” Winchester said.  “I wasn’t fastest a lot of times, my teammate Brett Sandberg was, but consistency is what paid off.  I drove smart all year, and tried to stay out of trouble.  I think I only had major contact maybe twice all year, that that really makes a difference for a championship.”

For his part, Sandberg scored four victories and four additional podium finishes, but a “no score” in the second Toronto race and a crash in the Houston finale left him second in the championship. 

Capping an excellent Pirelli season for Compass360, rookie Remo Ruscitti finished on the podium no less than seven times to finish third in the driver’s championship as the top rookie in the series.

In the companion Touring Class-B category, veteran Joel Lipperini won rounds at Lime Rock Park and the Honda Indy Toronto to finish second in the TCB drivers’ championship in his Honda B-Spec Fit, just 30 points behind class champion Robbie Davis.

RealTime Racing Closes Out GTS Season With a Podium Finish

The Acura TSX-equipped RealTime Racing closed out their 2013 Pirelli World Challenge Season on a high note, with a second-place GTS class finish for team owner/driver Peter Cunningham at Houston.

Early morning rain showers meant the combined GT/GTS race started on a fully wet circuit.  The damp conditions proved an advantage for the front-wheel drive Acura, as Cunningham fought his way through the field, ending up in a multi-lap battle with the Porsche Cayman of Jack Baldwin.  Once past Baldwin with just a handful of laps remaining, Cunningham attempted to chase down the Camaro of leader Lawson Aschenbach, but the checkers waved with Cunningham second, and teammate Nick Esayian ninth.

Continental Tire Championship Goes Down To Final Laps

Across the country, the Grand-AM’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge came to an exciting conclusion at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

Unlike the otherwise similar Pirelli series, which are sprint races of less than an hour, the Continental Tire championship is made up of endurance contests featuring multiple drivers and scheduled pit stops.  In the Street Tuner category, the Compass360 duo of Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple headed to Lime Rock with their Honda Civic Si locked into a tight championship battle with no less than five other BMW and Mazda-mounted teams.

But at the end of two hours and thirty minutes of hard-fought competition around the short, but quick, Lime Rock circuit, a fifth-place finish for the Burton Racing duo of Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra was just enough to edge Eversley and Gimple, who finished sixth, for the championship by the narrow margin of just nine points.

Still, it was an encouraging Continental Tire season for Honda, highlighted by three teams sharing the victory podium at The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June, led by the RSR Motorsports Honda Civic Si of Tom Dyer and Andrew Novich.  Local favorite HART – made up of associates from Honda of America Manufacturing – finished second with drivers Chad Gilsinger and Michael Valiante; with Gimple and Eversley third. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Formula F Blog - October 2013 Recap

Herta Wins Pacific Formula F Championship
Second-generation racer Colton Herta swept the season finale triple-header race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to claim the Pacific Formula F1600 Championship in his first season of Formula F racing.
Herta, the 13-year-old son of former Honda-powered IndyCar and ALMS driver Bryan Herta followed up a stellar karting career by scoring 10 victories in his Honda-powered PR1 Motorsports Mygale Formula F to claim the title over season-long rival and teammate Joey Bickers.
Bickers won four races in the 15-round championship, and consistent podium finishes kept him in the championship hunt going into the final weekend of the season.  Between them, Herta and Bickers won all but one round in 2013, with only veteran David Cheng’s win at Thunderhill’s round two interrupting their victory march.
At the Las Vegas road course finale, Bickers took the pole for the first race, but fell behind Herta at the start and eventually had to battle the Lynx Racing Spectrum Honda of Alex Keyes to hang on to second at the finish, with Keyes third.  Colton won from the pole in race two, clinching the title when Bickers slid off course on the opening lap.  Bickers eventually recovered to finish third behind Keyes, who scored his best result of the season.
In the third and final race of the weekend, Herta again started from the pole, but faced a strong challenge from Bickers as the pair exchanged the lead until Herta took command mid-race, with Bickers finishing second and Andrew Evans rounding out the podium in his Lynx Racing Spectrum Honda.  More information on the Pacific F1600 Championship series is available at www.pacificF2000.com.
Formula F Webcast Episode 3 Premiers
Produced by Mathisen Media with the support of Honda Performance Development, the latest episode in a series of four webcasts dedicated to Formula F competition has debuted at http://youtu.be/4rj3TstiEVI.
The video series provides Formula F race highlights, coupled with testamonials from Honda-powered IndyCar drivers touting the virtues of Formula F competition and the lessons learned from Formula F racing earlier in their careers.
The first “F1600 In Focus” webcast featured race in-car footage from the F1600 Formula F Championship Series weekends at Mid-Ohio and Summitt Point, including current IndyCar driver Tristan Vautier’s one-off return to Formula F competition at Mid-Ohio.
Honda IndyCar (and former Formula F) drivers making appearances in the video series include Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Charlie Kimball and Josef Newgarden.
Team USA Prepares for Formula F Festivals
A pair of young American Honda-powered Formula F drivers headed to England for the famed season-ending Formula F “Festival” events at Brands Hatch and Silverstone as part of the annual Team USA Scholarship program.
Joey Bickers, a 21-year-old Californian and championship runner-up in the Pacific Formula F1600 Championship; and Jake Eidson, 18, winner of the 2013 eastern US Formula F title, represented the USA and took  
part in both the annual FF Festival at the famed Brands Hatch circuit October 26-27, and the Walter Hayes Trophy race weekend at Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, November 2-4.
As the newest members of Team USA Scholarship, Bickers and Eidson follow in the footsteps of previous scholarship winners [and eventual Honda-powered IndyCar drivers] Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice, Charlie Kimball, JR Hildebrand and Josef Newgarden.
The Team USA Scholarship program has been boosting the careers of young (ages 16-22) American racers since 1990.  Honda Performance Development has been a proud sponsor of this effort since the institution of the Honda Racing Line program in 2010.  More information on Team USA can be found at the organization’s website, www.TeamUSAScholarship.org, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
Kautz Defends Formula F Title at SCCA Runoffs
Tim Kautz, the first Honda-powered Formula F National Champion with his victory in the 2012 SCCA Runoffs, successfully defended his title in his Piper Honda last month at Road America, after a race-long battle with the Van Diemen Ford of Reid Hazelton.
Drivers from across North America qualify for the Runoffs with their race finishes in SCCA National competition throughout the season, but the title “national champion” can only be earned by winning the final race of the season, which this year is celebrated its 50th anniversary at the historic Road America circuit in central Wisconsin.
More than 700 SCCA club racers – including a record total of 63 Honda and Acura drivers took part in this year’s runoffs, one of the largest fields on record.  Included in that number were 12 Formula F racers utilizing the Honda L15A7 engine, also a record for Honda participation in the revitalized category and making up exactly half of the 24-driver entry in this popular category.
Kautz and Hazelton traded the lead repeatedly throughout the 13-lap contest, including at four times on the final lap.  In the run to the checkers, Kautz edged to the front, when it counted the most, to claim the title by just a tenth of a second over his rival.  Jeff Bartz made it a 1-3 result for Honda-powered drivers as the manufacturer claimed six of the top-10 finishing positions.
Additional information on the SCCA National Championship Runoffs can be found at www.scca.com. 

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