HPD Blog

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Acura, Cunningham Clinch World Challenge GTS Titles

SANTA CLARITA, CA. (Sept. 14, 2010) – Records fell by the handful September 11-12 at Virginia International Raceway as Acura and RealTime Racing’s Peter Cunningham clinched the SCCA World Challenge GTS category championships for both manufacturers and drivers.

The two GTS wins – by Cunningham on Sunday and teammate Nick Esayian on Saturday – were more than enough to solidify Acura’s position as Manufacturers’ Champion in the inaugural year for the GTS category.

Although new to GTS competition, the title is the ninth – and third consecutive – for Acura in the SCCA World Challenge. Acura also won titles in the former T2 class in 1998 and 1999; and in the Touring category in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Cunningham’s drivers’ title is his sixth, a World Challenge record, and his victory on Sunday was his 40th, also extending his series record.

“Based on how things shook out at the start, I was able to grab the lead and build it until the [late race] caution came out. The restart gave me a bit of a scare with all the [faster] GT [class] guys trying to get by on either side. But we were able to hang on and take the win,” Cunningham said. “Now we can just go have fun at the [season] finale. It’s a great day for Acura, RealTime Racing and Toyo Tires.”

Esayian’s victory on Saturday was his first in GTS competition, while North Carolina’s Kevin Helms combined a third [on Saturday] with a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s race in his DBA/Carbotech Acura RSX.

In the Touring Class, series rookie Brett Sandberg finished third in his Acura TSX on Saturday, while Branden Peterson was the top Honda finisher on the weekend, running fourth in Touring Car in his Civic Si on Sunday.

The 2010 SCCA World Challenge concludes October 1-3 at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

RTR Acura Drivers Both Win at VIR Double, Cunningham Clinches GTS WC Title

Esayian Takes First Pro Win

September 13, 2010—Alton, VA


Rounds 10 and 11 of the World Challenge Championship took place at the demanding VIRginia International Raceway, and the RealTime Acura brigade put the icing on the cake that is the 2010 season. With Acura having already been crowned the GTS Category Manufacturers’ Champions, it was a shootout between drivers Peter Cunningham and Nick Esayian for the Drivers’ title.

Saturday

With only one event remaining in the 12-race championship after the conclusion of the VIR weekend, Esayian knew he had to score as many points as he could to keep his title hopes alive, and as it turned out, he did just that by scoring his maiden professional race victory on Saturday.

Cunningham’s Acura TSX had led Round 10 from the standing start, but was slowed due to a rare mechanical glitch on the final lap, within sight of the checkered flag. His day was still salvaged with a fourth place result.

Esayian’s matching RealTime Acura was wrapped up in a race-long battle with Ernie Jakobowski’s Porsche Cayman in treacherous conditions. As the rain began to gently fall about mid-way through the 21-lap contest, all the World Challenge drivers did their best to stay on the road.

In the end, Esayain crossed the line in lockstep with Jakobowski, but the Acura driver was declared the winner when the Porsche was determined to have a noncompliant ride height.

RealTime fielded a third Acura TSX this weekend for Tommy Sadler. Sadler’s real life job is Crew Chief for the Flying Lizards, the highly successful American Le Mans team of Porsche 911s. The Lizards are the defending GT2 Champions and hold a significant lead in the 2010 fight with only one event remaining.

Sadler is originally from the Danville, Virginia area and he took advantage of a break in his schedule to come and play with the Acura boys. He methodically came up to speed through the test and practice days, and then qualified fifth. In his World Challenge debut, he kept his nose clean in the changing track conditions and finished an impressive third place!

Sunday

When the World Challenge cars qualified on Sunday morning for Round 11, the skies were sunny and the ambient temperature was not yet boiling. Cunningham laid down a lap slightly quicker than he had in qualifying on Saturday to take his 41st career pole position.

As the race got underway later in the afternoon, the teams faced hot and sticky conditions on a track that didn’t feel that much grippier than it did when it was sprinkling the day before.


Cunningham led the GTS field into the first corner, with Esayian close behind in second. With his sixth World Challenge Championship on the line, Cunningham inched away from Esayian and all the rest, his only scare coming late in the going when a full course caution erased his sizable lead.

After the restart, the order didn’t change, and Cunningham earned enough points to ice the 2010 GTS Drivers’ Championship.

Esayian finished second, his ninth top-three result in the 11 races held thus far.
With this weekend’s victory and second place results, Esayian is assured of finishing second to Cunningham in the 2010 points tally.

Sadler’s run on Sunday started out on the wrong foot when he got caught up in a tussle on the way to the first corner. With the right side of the car looking quite disheveled, he limped around the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit for a pair of right side tires and a few hammer hits and returned to fray, albeit one lap down from the leaders.

Finale

The World Challenge Series concludes its 21st season at Miller Motorsports Park, near Salt Lake City, on October 1-3.

Broadcast

A two-hour broadcast that will highlight the VIR weekend’s races will air on VERSUS on October 30th at 3:00p Eastern. The special two-hour season recap show will also feature the Miller finale race.

Support

The RealTime Racing team is sponsored by Acura Motorsports, Acura Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, Sparco, Hawk Performance, Brembo, A-SPEC, BOSCH, and Total Auto Body.

Honda, Compass360 Repeat As Continental Tire ST Champions

TOOLE, Utah (Sept. 12, 2010) – For the drivers’ and team championships it came down to a tie-breaker, while the manufacturers’ title chase was just a little less close – seven points – as Honda and Compass360 Racing successfully defended their Street Tuner titles in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season finale at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

A third-place finish in Saturday’s 200-mile race for the Compass360 duo of Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius in the 10th and final round in the 2010 championship saw the pair tie the BimmerWorld team of Bill Heumann and Seth Thomas on points. In addition, both teams tied in class wins (two each) and second-place finishes (also two apiece).

But neither had a third-place result – until this weekend. That became the tie-breaker, winning the drivers’ title for Aschenbach and Thilenius and the team crown for Toronto-based Compass360.

Honda ended the season with 312 points, to 295 for BMW. It is the second consecutive ST Manufacturers’ Championship for the Honda Civic Si. VW finished third in the title fight that also saw competitive efforts from Mazda, KIA and Mini.

Reflecting the tight championship battle – that saw the points lead swing back-and-forth – the finale at Miller was equally dramatic.

BimmerWorld’s Heumann and Thomas came into the event leading the title fight, but Heumann had to pit his BMW 328i with a broken differential on the second lap and the resulting 30-minute delay for repairs dropped them to an eventual 20th-place finish.

With their competition delayed, Aschenbach and Thilenius now needed a finish of third or better in their Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si to secure the title. That’s exactly what they accomplished, but only in final minutes of the race.

“My team was on the radio with me every lap telling me what to do,” Aschenbach said. “We pushed hard and continued to fight. Things needed to fall our way, and today they did.”

Running fourth at the checkers, just behind their Compass360 teammates, Zach Lutz and Ryan Eversley finished the 2010 season tied for fifth in the drivers’ points race. Their season-long results, in addition to those of Aschenbach and Thilenius, proved to be the difference in the Manufacturers’ Championship contest.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Honda Performance Development Announces NASA Championship Support Program

TORRANCE, Calif. (September 13, 2010) – Honda Performance Development and American Honda have released details of their support program for Honda and Acura competitors during the 2010 National Auto Sport Association Championships, Sept. 16-19 at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

“The NASA Championships have demonstrated impressive growth among the country’s amateur racing enthusiasts in a mere few years,” said Erik Berkman, HPD president. “We are pleased to support the NASA Championship efforts of our Honda and Acura competitors for the first time in 2010, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the NASA Championships for years to come.”

To be eligible for support, all Honda competitors must be enrolled in the Honda Racing Line program and display the required “Honda Racing/HPD” or “Acura Motorsports” decals on their race vehicles. Registration for the Honda Racing Line will be offered on-site at Miller Motorsports Park, in the Honda Racing paddock areas.

Administered by the NASA on behalf of HPD and American Honda, these incentives will be distributed following the completion of each National Championship race:
• $500 for starting a National Championship event;
• $1,500 for winning a National Championship, with additional awards of $1,000 and $500 for second- and third-place finishes, respectively.

In addition to these benefits, American Honda will provide a catered hospitality tent on site, exclusively for Honda competitors and crew members. The tent will provide a lunch buffet from Thursday, Sept. 16 through Saturday, Sept. 18.

Competitors may pick up their hospitality passes in the Honda Racing paddock at Miller Motorsports Park.

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. In addition to its grassroots motorsports support programs. HPD is the single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series and competes in prototype sports-car racing under the HPD banner in the American Le Mans and European Le Mans Series.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Honda Performance Development Announces 2010 SCCA Runoffs Program

TORRANCE, Calif. (August 3, 2010) –Honda Performance Development and American Honda have released details of their support program for Honda and Acura competitors during the 2010 Sports Car Club of America National Championship Runoffs, Sept. 20-26 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

“Our support program for the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs was a critical component of the grassroots motorsports initiative we announced last year,” said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development, Inc. “We were very gratified by the response we received from Honda- and Acura-powered Runoffs competitors at Road America.

“We are pleased to return with an expanded support program for the 2010 Runoffs, and to celebrate the accomplishments of all the drivers who carry the Honda or Acura banner.”

To be eligible for support, all Honda competitors must be enrolled in the Honda Racing Line program and display the required “Honda Racing/HPD” or “Acura Motorsports” decals on their race vehicles. Registration for the Honda Racing Line will be offered on-site at Road America, in the Team Honda Research and Honda Racing paddock areas,

Administered by the SCCA on behalf of HPD and American Honda, these incentives will be distributed following the completion of the Runoffs:
· $500 for starting a Runoffs event;
· $500 for winning a Divisional Championship;
· $2500 for winning a National Championship, with additional awards of $1500 and $1000 for second- and third-place finishes, respectively.

Honda/Acura competitors will be reimbursed with a $100 credit for reserving a paddock parking space at the Runoffs. The space must be reserved directly through Road America and prepaid by the competitor.

In addition to these benefits, American Honda will provide a catered hospitality tent on site, exclusively for Honda competitors and crew members. The tent will provide a lunch buffet from Tuesday, Sept. 21 through Saturday, Sept. 25.

Competitors may pick up their hospitality passes in the Honda Racing paddock at Road America.

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. In addition to its grassroots motorsports support programs, HPD is the single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series and competes in prototype sports-car racing under the HPD banner in the American Le Mans and European Le Mans Series.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

US Rallycross Championship – THR Rally

Millville, NJ. –Team Honda Research, with the support of Honda Performance Development, scored an impressive fifth-place finish during the weekend of August 28-29 at the first European-style Rallycross race in U.S. history. The race, held at New Jersey Motorsports Park, was the first round of the inaugural RallyCar U.S. Rallycross Championship. THR and HPD represented Honda in the Rally America-sanctioned event, with Brian Johnston driving a 2007 Honda Civic Si.

RallyCar Rallycross events are based on the successful European Rallycross racing model, and feature cars racing side by side over a 1.3-mile mix of tarmac and dirt. Each lap features a jump, and each competitor is required to take a “Joker Lap” during the race, which adds a unique feature and time to that lap. The Qualifying and Heat races seed the top drivers into the Main races. All three rounds will be broadcast on ESPN2.
As the weekend got started, competitors had to adjust to the new course and format of racing. THR posted competitive times during the first practice session, but things went awry during qualifying when a brake line failed, and the Civic Si limped around the track and back into the pits. “Practice went great,” Johnston stated, “and after our problem in qualifying, the team worked really hard to get the car running again in time for the heat races on Sunday.”

After the poor qualifying result, the THR Civic Si started from third in the “B Main” group for the final event. Johnston got a good start and moved to second on the first lap. On the following lap, THR built enough of a gap to take the “Joker” lap and retain the second spot. When the first-place Nissan took the “Joker,” Johnston made the pass for the lead and never looked back, winning the race and advancing to the “A Main” race with the top six 2WD cars. The THR Civic Si ran a clean race in “A Main” and finished the event in fifth place.

“I’m so proud of what we accomplished this weekend, and it’s thanks to Team Honda Research for having a great car to drive,” Johnston said afterward. “This track was so much fun, and the wheel-to-wheel racing makes a great spectacle for the fans. We’ve learned a lot about this new form of racing, and we’ll apply that knowledge to make improvements for the next round.”
The team gets a month off between events, and THR, with the support of HPD, will be fielding an additional Civic Si at Rallycross Round 2, October 1-3 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, and at the season finale, November 5-7.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Acura Clinches World Challenge GTS Title

SANTA CLARITA, CA (August 17, 2010) – A pair of victories for RealTime Racing and driver Peter Cunningham at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course were enough to clinch Acura’s ninth Manufacturers’ Championship in Sports Car Club of America World Challenge competition, with three rounds remaining in the 2010 series for production-based racing cars.

The GTS class victories of Cunningham – his fifth and sixth of the season – extended his series-record career total to 38. Cunningham now has a 164-point drivers’ championship lead over teammate Nick Esayian, who finished second in both Mid-Ohio events.

Cunningham led the first race at the classic Mid-Ohio circuit from flag-to-flag on Saturday, but Sunday’s round was a tougher proposition.

“Off the start, the rear drive of the Porsche Cayman got the better of me today,” Cunningham said following Sunday’s race. “I had a couple of [early] opportunities to try to pass, but I wanted to be patient and not rush into it. I knew my Acura would stay under me. Finally, he got a little bit sideways in [Turn] Nine, and I just shoved it in there and made a clean pass.”

Next up for SCCA World Challenge competitors will be another doubleheader weekend, the SCCA Pro Racing Sports Car Wars, Sept. 10-12 at Virginia International Raceway.

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