HPD Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

HPD and Maxxis Win B-Spec and take 3rd in 2WD at 100 Acre Wood Rally

Salem, MO. (March 18-19th, 2016) – As the second round of the 2016 Rally America National Championship approached, the weather radar was clear and the entry list long. Perfect conditions for HPD and Maxxis to once again showcase the 2015 B-Spec Honda Fit!




The stage roads of 100 Acre Wood Rally 2016 would see five B-Spec competitors challenge for championship points, the largest field to date. Alongside the HPD/Maxxis Fit, a Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, and Chevy Sonic would be joined by the Rally America Star Car, a 2009 Honda Fit piloted by RealTime Racing drivers Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley! 


“I’m very happy to see the size of the B-Spec field at this event.” said HPD/Maxxis driver Jordan Guitar at Park Expose on Day 1. “It is shaping up to be a great event, especially with the weather looking spectacular. We are very excited to start the rally!” The roads of 100AW are famously fast, flowing, and mixed with tight and technical sections. Day One would consist of five stages, a service, and then four more stages that would carry into the night. 



After the first five stages, the 2015 Fit was sitting in first place in B-Spec with a very tight lead of only six seconds over fellow Honda teammates Cunningham and Eversley, and had pulled out three minutes ahead of the Toyota Yaris. “The stages we just finished actually have a lot of grip on them,” stated Guitar at service. “It looks like there may be some rain coming, so it could get slippery later.”



As the cars drove into the night, the team of Cunningham and Eversley started to pull out some time on the duo of Guitar and William Jang. The rain started at just over a drizzle and by the last stage was coming down harder. As the teams came into service, the 2015 Fit was sitting in second place, some 40 seconds behind the 2009 Fit. 


“We are happy with the car’s performance so far. The car is holding together just fine and the Maxxis tires had plenty of grip,”   Guitar noted after the finish. “We are going to try and step up our game tomorrow and see if we can make up some time!”




Although the temperature prediction for Day Two was around 40 degrees, it would be sunny and perfect for the fast roads in Salem. “Yesterday was great,” said Jang, first time co-driver for the HPD/Maxxis Fit, “These roads suit the Fit quite well and it really shows off its potential.”


After completing just two stages, the cars were back at the first service of the day. The HPD/Maxxis B-Spec Fit had gained only about two seconds on the first place team. “I made a mistake on Stage 11,” Guitar explained, “I carried way too much speed into a tight right-hand corner, and ended up spinning to the left side of the road under some caution tape. Luckily, we were able to make a speedy recovery and kept going.”


The roads of 100AW can be a trying place for rally cars, and this year was no exception. Two B-Spec cars would suffer damage which would eventually lead to DNF’s (Did Not Finish), joining  them with 19 other competitors by the end of the two-day event.


After a hard fought battle, the HPD/Maxxis team would finish first in B-spec and third in 2WD. “We are very pleased with our finishing position,” stated Guitar, “although it’s unfortunate that all the B-spec cars weren’t able to make it. The Maxxis tires had tons of grip out there. The Fit performed wonderfully, and we had tons of fun. We are looking forward to the next round out in Oregon.”


Look for the HPD/Maxxis B-Spec Fit to continue its hunt for the championship in April, at Oregon Trail Rally in Portland, OR.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Honda Debuts 2016 Civic Coupe Racing Livery to Compete in 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross Series

Today Honda unveiled the new racing livery for its Civic Red Bull Global Rallycross racecar, announcing plans to campaign the all-new turbocharged 2016 Civic Coupe in the 2016 series in partnership with Red Bull and championship-winning race team Olsbergs MSE. The Honda Civic Red Bull GRC team will begin racing on May 21 in Phoenix at the first event of the season.

Developed from a production-model 2016 Civic Coupe chassis by renowned builders and racers Olsbergs MSE (OMSE) with technical assistance from Honda Performance Development (HPD), the all-new Civic Red Bull GRC car is built to withstand the rigorous demands of racing in a series that emphasizes repeated aggressive acceleration and varied terrain. The car will boast more than 600 horsepower, turn in a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds and is designed to handle the 70 foot table-top jumps featured on each racetrack.

"Global Rallycross is seriously extreme racing, and it's a terrific platform to showcase the new Civic Coupe to an enthusiastic, performance-minded young audience," said Nick Lee, National Advertising Manager, American Honda Motor Co, Inc. "We won't encourage our customers to take 70-foot jumps out on the street, but we will use this platform to tell people about all the incredible technology and performance capabilities of our new Civic Coupe."  

Driving the 2016 Honda Civic Red Bull GRC car for Team Honda are experienced competitors and former teammates Sebastian Eriksson and Joni Wiman. Eriksson, from Sweden, and Wiman, from Finland, have both made their mark in the series, with Wiman winning the 2014 Global Rallycross Championship and Eriksson finishing second in 2015. The two met in competition during the 2013 GRC Lites season, where Eriksson finished runner-up to Wiman, who swept the series.

Honda's entry into Red Bull Global Rallycross is the latest in a diverse portfolio of North American professional and grassroots auto racing programs supported by Honda that include the Verizon IndyCar Series, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge, United States F4 Championship and multiple Touring Car and Rally Car series.

Red Bull Global Rallycross is designed to produce some of the fastest and most exciting racing in motorsports, pitting small production-based cars against each other in door-to-door racing featuring dirt, asphalt, and table-top jumps. The 2016 Honda Global Rallycross Civic will make its racing debut on May 21 and May 22 with a double header event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona.  For more information visit www.RedBullGlobalRallycross.com.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sebring 150 Race Report

Source: CRG-I Do Borrow

This last week at Sebring International Raceway for the Sebring 150, the second round of the 2016 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSC) Series season, proved yet again that any team, no matter how big or small, has the opportunity to succeed through hard work.  Although the CRG-I Do Borrow team is small in numbers, they are vast in spirit and are as much of a family as they are a team.

Drivers Sarah Cattaneo and Owen Trinkler started the event out with a strong promoter test day to set the tone for the week in their #44 I Do Borrow/A&C Properties Honda Civic Si.  During the first and second official practices of the weekend the team mostly focused on making their car strong over the long run of the race as opposed to just quick on any given lap.  Overall pace wouldn’t rule the day come the race, as they weren’t anticipating many yellow flags in the race, so the car had to be as good at the end of a long green flag stint as in the beginning.

Cattaneo would qualify the car in the 14th starting position, and at the drop of the green flag started making steady strides forward during her stint.  The team would call a great strategy by pitting for driver change and full service as soon as their window opened to finish the race on one stop.  Sarah would bring the #44 entry into the pits within the Top-10, and as the rest of the field cycled through their stops, Owen would find himself within the Top-5.  Poised for a strong run, Trinkler steadily began making his way forward, picking off one competitor at a time.  Before long the pink and black liveried Honda would be in the lead, and pulling away from the rest of the field.

In the end, the combination of Cattaneo and Trinkler would take the checker flag with a monumental win, set the fast lap in the race for the Street Tuner (ST) field, and take over the points lead in the Team and Drivers’ championships.  In true family fashion, this win would mean more than most, with high emotions all around.  Sarah clutching to her father and Team Owner Joe in celebration and Owen deep in thought as this marked the anniversary of his own fathers passing, who happened to last watch Owen race at the famed Sebring circuit.

“It’s been a while since Sarah and I were on the top step of the podium, and I’m so happy for her, Joe (Cattaneo) and the entire team that puts in so much work.  I had a feeling about this weekend, I wasn’t able to have my family here, but my wife kept the kids out of school today so they could watch the race online. 

Trinkler continues, “With the anniversary of my Dad’s passing, and this being the last place he ever watched me race, this win will go down as one of most important to me personally.  I want to thank Joe and the entire CRG team, Sarah, who’s grown so much as a driver, and my family for their never ending support.”

Cattaneo could be seen in pit lane pacing anxiously as the race wound to a close with her teammate in the lead, refusing to celebrate until it was official.  “Sebring was a real dream come true to win at such a historic place.  Owen and I, and the whole team have worked so hard for this, and for all that hard work to pay off is such an incredible feeling.

Sarah continues, “You can never explain what a win feels like until it actually happens, and this win feels earned.  We’ve put blood, sweat and tears into this program, and the reward was unbelievable.  I’m not sure it’s truly sunk in that we won yet.  It’s one of those moments that I’ll hold onto for the rest of my life.  Yes, we’re the smallest team in the paddock, but have such great people around us like the Rum Bum team doing our pit stops; it feels great to have captured this victory for everyone that’s put in so much effort and hard work.”

The victory was the sixth for Trinkler and second for Cattaneo in their CTSC career’s, and their first since 2012.  Sarah is one of only two female drivers with victories in the CTSC series’ history.  The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series Sebring 150 race can be viewed via tape delayed broadcast on Fox Sports 1 on March 27th, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

Monday, February 15, 2016

HPD and Maxxis Win B-Spec and take 3rd in 2WD at 2016 Sno*drift Rally

HPD and Maxxis again joined forces to showcase the 2015 B-Spec Honda Fit at the first round of the 2016 Rally America National Championship, Sno*Drift Rally. The Maxxis/HPD Rally Team had a very successful season in 2015, winning the B-Spec Championship and placing second in the 2WD Championship, showcasing the versatility and the reliability of the Fit-based platform. Striving to defend its B-spec title early at Sno*drift rally, the team would be tested again by a strong entry from Ford with their new turbo Fiesta-based platform. For the 2016 season, HPD/Maxxis has introduced a new driver, Jordan Guitar, Team Honda Research teammate, and fellow Honda Engineer to previous driver James Robinson. “I’m very excited to join the HPD/Maxxis team this year”, stated Jordan, “the Fit is a great platform and I am looking forward to some great competition in the B-Spec class”. 

With six stages to contest on Day One of the Sno*Drift Rally, the team set off upon the snow and ice-covered roads. When the team came in for service after the first three stages, the Fit had a small lead of about 50 seconds on the Fiesta. “The road conditions are not too bad right now,” Guitar said. “We are still feeling out the car, but there seems to be a fair amount of grip. As the stages continue to get polished off, we’ll see if we can maintain our momentum.” As the team returned from the last three stages to finish off Day One, the B-Spec fit was able to pull out to a three-minute lead on the Fiesta and was sitting in second in 2WD. “We are very happy with our position right now,” stated Guitar. “The roads were getting pretty bad and lots of cars were off, but the Fit is set up great right now and the Maxxis tires were great, even in the icy conditions.” 

The weather prediction for Day Two showed temperatures nearing 40 degrees. This would mean that some of the top snow layer would start to melt. “If the top layer melts, that could expose the dirt underneath. possibly helping with traction,” stated Brian Penza, returning to co-drive for the HPD/Maxxis team. “It could also expose the ice underneath and become very slick.” As the teams returned from Stage 12, the B-Spec Fit had stretched its lead in B-Spec to just under four minutes and was sitting in 2nd in 2WD. “The roads were very slick in places,” noted Guitar at service, “I made a few mistakes that lost us some momentum right before a few of the hills, which set us back a little bit, but the car seems to be handling the roads well.” As the rally continued, the team began to struggle with some of the stage conditions, “Stage 15 was incredibly bumpy and rough,” explained Penza, “but the Fit took it like a champ and made it through in one piece.” 

“On [Stage] 16,” said Guitar, “I carried a little bit too much speed into one of the spectator areas and underestimated how slippery it was; we slid through the corner and stuffed the Fit into the snow bank. I thought we were stuck, but after about a minute we were able to dislodge it and carry on.” Sno*drift Rally is a difficult event, with attrition rates being quite high during past years. This year, 42 cars started and 34 finished. At the end of the rally, the HPD/Maxxis team finished first in B-Spec and third in 2WD. “We are very happy with our finishing position,” said a pleased Guitar. “The Fit performed great all weekend; the Maxxis tires were fantastic, and we averaged about 20 miles per gallon on fuel. We’re excited with this great start to the championship and are looking forward to the next round at the Rally in the 100-Acre Wood.”

Look for the THR B-Spec Fit to continue in its hunt for the championship in March, 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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Maxxis / HPD Score another B-Spec win and a 2WD Podium at the 2015 Lake Superior Pro Rally

Houghton, Michigan. (October 16-17, 2015) – – Maxxis / HPD Score another B-Spec win and a 2WD Podium at the 2015 Lake Superior Pro Rally!

Houghton, MI. (Oct. 16-17, 2015) – Maxxis renewed its partnership with Honda Performance Development to showcase the brand new 2015 B-Spec Fit developed specifically for Rally competition at the Lake Superior Pro Rally [LSPR], the eighth round of the 2015 Rally America National Championship. 


The Maxxis/HPD Rally Team had already built up an impressive six B-Spec wins, as well as five overall two-wheel-drive podium finishes, in the first seven rounds of the 2015 National Championship.  Moving into the eighth and final round, the team’s main goal was to keep the momentum going by capturing another B-Spec win and finishing as high as possible in the 2WD field.




“We couldn’t ask for a better 2015 season,” stated James Robinson, Honda engineer and driver for Maxxis/HPD. “We’ve been consistently finishing well in the 2WD National Class, as well as winning B-Spec at every event we’ve entered. I’ve been really impressed with how well this new 2015 Honda Fit has been running. If we can get a strong finish here at LSPR, we could finish 2nd in the  2WD National Championship!”


The Lake Superior Performance Rally takes place during peak foliage season in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, meaning that this rally is always one of the most unforgettable and picturesque. Headquartered in Houghton, the unpredictable fall weather could mean conditions anywhere from dry and sunny to accumulating heavy snows.  LSPR takes advantage of the rugged terrain of the Keweenaw and Lake Superior shoreline to live up to its reputation as the oldest, meanest, toughest rally on the circuit.


“In 2013, we were able to get a first place in B-Spec at LSPR,” Robinson explained, “We won this event last year, so we’re hopeful that we can get back on the pace here and get another win!”


With eight stages to contest on the opening day, the B-Spec Fit team set out to establish a strong pace against the strong 2WD class.  “We’ve got a super tough field here in 2WD, so we’ll have a tough job ahead of us to get on the 2WD podium,” Robinson noted at the first service of the day.  “The conditions are fantastic, though, so we’re going to go as fast as we can!”




By the end of the first day, the HPD / Maxxis team was leading B-Spec and was provisionally sitting third in 2WD.  “We’re working hard to keep up with the 2WD National competitors, but these stages are really well suited for higher horsepower,” stated Robinson at the end of Day 1.  “We’re only a few seconds ahead of fourth place right now, so we’re going to have to push very hard to keep our place on the 2WD podium.”



Moving into the second day of competition, the B-Spec Fit continued to lead in class, but was struggling to keep pace with the higher power 2WD National competitors. “We’re having a great run today, with no real issues,” Robinson stated at the end of Stage 11.  “We’re doing our best not to lose touch with the 2WD leaders, but it’s tough on these fast, open stages.” 


By the final two street stages in Detroit Lakes, the B-Spec Fit team had slipped to fourth in 2WD, but maintained first in B-Spec.  “Despite not being able to keep our position in 2WD, we couldn’t be more happy with the Fit and how it’s been handling these challenging stages,” observed Robinson before the start of the street stages, “We are consistently showing just how reliable and competitive these little B-Spec cars can really be.”


Unfortunately for 2WD Class leader Cameron Steely, Stage 14 would end with a minor ‘off’ that would cost him his top finish.  “Cameron was having a fantastic run here at LSPR and was basically untouchable with his stage times.  I was gutted to see his car off on Stage 14, because it was really the last competitive stage of the Rally.” said Robinson at the event’s conclusion.  “Due to his DNF, however, we were able to get back on the 2WD Podium!”


Coming into the final time control, the Maxxis/HPD team could celebrate with a first-place finish in B-Spec and a third-place 2WD finish. 




“We had an overall great event,” Robinson said at the awards ceremony. “The Fit was totally reliable; thanks to the great Maxxis R19 tire we were able to clinch another B-Spec win and also have a super strong finish in 2WD.”   Robinson was also ecstatic with the impact the strong finish had on the championship.  “With this finish, we were able to exceed our expectations for B-Spec by finishing second in the 2WD National Championship.  This is a huge achievement for Maxxis, HPD and for the B-Spec!”


Look for the THR B-Spec Fit in the 2016 Rally America Series.


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

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