Honda Performance Development (HPD), the authorized Honda and Acura racing company in North America, is announcing a new initiative targeted at expanding its presence in the grassroots motorsports market.
The broad-based initiative will include the development of products and services that support competition in the club and entry-level professional ranks, and will also include integrated marketing activities designed to raise the profile of Honda Racing and HPD.
“For many years, Honda enthusiasts have campaigned our products in racing series throughout the U.S.,” said Erik Berkman, President of Honda Performance Development. “On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Honda brand in the United States, we are pleased to announce that we will now support those efforts directly, by introducing products and services geared toward helping our customers fulfill their racing dreams.”
Since 1993, American Honda and its motorsports subsidiary, Honda Performance Development, have constructed an unparalleled resume at the pinnacle levels of motorsport. Included on their extensive list of accomplishments are four Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Manufacturers’ Championships and six drivers’ championships; five IndyCar manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships, and an ongoing streak of event victories in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) prototype sports-car competition.
Building upon those many and varied successes, in 2009, HPD is undertaking to extend ‘The Power of Racing Dreams’, by means of an initiative which will expand the Honda and Acura presence in the grassroots motorsports market.
2009 Racing Initiatives
Honda Racing Line (HondaRacingLine.com)
In the recent past, American Honda has supported its customers’ ambitions in amateur and professional road racing through the distribution of parts and contingency prize money to drivers using Honda or Acura products in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), Grand-Am KONI Challenge, and National Auto Sports Association (NASA) racing competition. The Honda Racing Line club has been formed to enable Honda Performance Development to provide Honda factory support for grassroots and entry-level professional Honda or Acura racers. To launch this program, a website portal (HondaRacingLine.com) has been developed to offer club registration and expedited parts availability to qualified Honda Racing Line club members. Additional member benefits will be announced as they are developed.
· Professional Road Racing
American Honda continues to support RealTime Racing in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Series. RealTime Racing has won multiple World Challenge championships, and provides a strong platform to showcase Acura’s TSX model in a competitive professional road-racing format.
· Team Honda Research (THR)
A significant number of associates from Honda R&D Americas participate actively in racing. Team Honda Research (THR) and Team Honda Research-West (THR-W) are racing teams comprised of Honda associates based in Ohio and California, respectively, who compete in SCCA and NASA events. THR members have won at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, NASA Championships, and are multi-time winners of the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. THR also has teams that currently compete in rally, karting, and drifting.
· Honda of America Racing Team (HART)
The Honda of America Racing Team (HART) is comprised of associates from the Honda of America manufacturing facilities. HART competes in selected events in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge series, National level autocross, and drag racing.
· Indy Racing League
AHM and HPD continue their participation in the Indy Racing League’s IndyCar Series. Dating to its 2003 entry into the series, the Honda Indy V-8 engine has demonstrated its reliability in rigorous, 220-mile-per-hour race events. In 2009, American Honda continues to assist the Indy Racing League in recruiting additional engine manufacturers, in an effort to provide American Honda with the appropriate quantum of competition against other O.E.M. marques. The Indy 500 remains the largest single-day sporting event in the world, and provides American Honda with a high-visibility platform for exposure of its products and engineering capabilities.
· American Le Mans Series
The 2009 season has seen the launch of HPD’s new ARX-02a Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) program in the American Le Mans Series, in partnership with de Ferran Motorsports and Patrón Highcroft Racing. Lowe’s Fernandez Racing continues in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) category with HPD’s Acura ARX-01b car. With its strong appeal to an affluent fan demographic, the American Le Mans Series has provided an effective platform for spotlighting American Honda’s Acura luxury brand.
· Off-Road Racing
American Honda also continues its support of the California Race and Rally Honda Ridgeline team, which earned a class victory in the SCORE off-road series at the prestigious Baja 1000 in 2008, as well as at the 2009 Baja 500.
Honda Performance Development’s new grassroots motorsports initiative heralds the dawn of a new era in the venerable history of Honda and Acura racing. By reconnecting with the company’s racing ‘roots,’ as exemplified by Mr. Soichiro Honda himself, American Honda and HPD plan to broaden their influence on the motorsports landscape and make Honda Racing activities a much more visible and active part of the corporate culture.
The new HPD initiative will support fans of grassroots racing through an integrated marketing plan, focusing on fan identification with the Honda Racing brand, as well as through merchandise sales and additional services.
The program will ultimately include an array of new products and services for amateur and professional Honda and Acura racers. Specific details regarding additional components of this new HPD initiative will be announced through the remainder of 2009.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is Honda’s racing company within North America. Founded in 1993, and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for Honda and Acura’s high-performance racing cars and engines. In addition to its new grassroots motorsports initiative, HPD is the single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series and competes in prototype sports-car racing under the Acura banner in the American Le Mans Series.