HPD Blog

Friday, April 20, 2012

“Karting Kids” Star in F1600 Formula F Championship Series Opener

Strong fields featuring several potential stars of the future grabbed the headlines April 14-15 as the F1600 Formula F Championship Series kicked off its 2012 season at Virginia International Raceway.

The doubleheader race weekend featured a pair of thrilling finishes, including a four-abreast charge to the checkers on Saturday and a battle between young teammates on Sunday decided by just hundredths of a second.

Nearly a third of the 20-car starting field was made up of drivers under the age of 18, including a half-dozen karting graduates from the United States, Canada, Finland and Brazil. 

In Saturday’s season-opening race, Finland’s Matias Koykka gave the Australian-built Spectrum-Honda it’s first US Formula F victory, prevailing in a four-wide charge to the finish line.  Driving for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, the 17-year-old karting graduate just edged second-year F1600 race Colin Thompson. 
With the 18-year-old Thompson in a Swift-Honda, Brandon Newey made it three different Honda-powered chassis in the top three positions as he rounded out the podium in his Bryan Herta Autosport Mygale, just ahead of teammate and Canadian FF graduate Garett Grist.  Just 0.87 seconds covered the first four finishers. 

The excitement continued in Sunday’s race 2, as Newey scored his first win, and the first American victory for the Mygale-Honda combination, after edging out teammate Grist by just 0.021 in another side-by-side finish.

Thompson rounded out the podium in third in an impressive charge through the field after an early-race spin.  Joe Colasacco finished fourth in his Van Diemen-Honda, while for the second consecutive day veteran FF racer Art Foster led the Ford-powered field across the finish, in fifth with his Van Diemen.  He finished sixth in Saturday’s opening race.

The introduction of the Honda L15A7 engine into Formula F has induced karters to move up and challenge themselves in automotive competition.  The engine’s relatively low per-mile running costs have made car racing more affordable than ever before.  This past weekend, the Honda Fit-based Formula F engine was found in six different chassis, ranging from the new Spectrum and Mygales to the popular Swift and Van Diemen.  Even Andy Brumbaugh’s 30-year-old Crossle 35F was converted from Ford to Honda power for the 2012 season.

The 10-race, eastern U.S.-based F1600 Formula F Championship Series continues with Rounds 3-4 at the historic Lime Rock Park circuit on May 24-26.  On the west coast, the Corsa Car Care presents Pacific Formula F Super Series continues with its second double-header race weekend of 2012 April 26-29 at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

HPD remembers Dave King

Dave King served American Honda Power Equipment in several capacities during his 29 year tenure with the company; District Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Sr. Engine DSM and Sr. OEM Rep. Dave shared a long relationship with Quarter Midgets of America, working with every tech director elected in QMA since 1994 and attending most, if not all of the Grand Nationals since Honda was introduced as a QMA engine. Dave believed in quarter midget racing and supported the sport through his time and efforts over the last 17 years. Dave was instrumental in helping HPD bring the Honda Racing spirit to Quarter Midget racing.  Dave was looking forward to his pending retirement next month.

Dave was a great asset to American Honda Motors and will be dearly missed.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Team Honda Research-West Makes 2012 SCCA B-Spec Debut at Auto Club Speedway January 22-23, 2012

THR-W drivers Sage Marie and Lee Niffenegger kicked off their 2012 SCCA national season with a 1-2 finish in a pair of identical Honda Racing/HPD BFGoodrich Honda Fit machines prepared for the new B-Spec class. Additionally, THR-W drivers Calvin Liu and Derek Ferretti started the season strong with a 1-2 finish in the same cars at a regional race held the same weekend. Notably, these events coincided with the sales launch of the HPD-developed B-Spec kit, now available through the Honda Racing Line.

Heavy rain during Saturday’s qualifying sessions gave the nimble and forgiving B-Spec Honda Fits a distinct advantage, allowing all four drivers to qualify ahead of some much faster Corvettes that shared their competition groups. “I think these cars are every bit as fun in the wet as they are in the dry,” commented Liu, “Maybe more.” Ultimately, Liu would post the fastest time in regional qualifying, while Niffenegger would post the fastest time in national qualifying.

Ferretti was able to stay within several seconds of Liu through the entire regional event and eventually placed second to Liu after both drivers encountered fierce battles with other cars in their run group.

The national race was characterized by dry, clear conditions and a close nose-to-tail battle between Marie and Niffenegger. Marie was able to squeak by Niffenegger through use of the draft, but Niffenegger remained glued to his bumper. Ultimately a passing Corvette in a tight section of the track mixed things up enough to create a small gap. With such closely matched cars at a fast track like Fontana, passing becomes virtually impossible without benefit of the draft, and Marie maintained his position for the win.

“This weekend served as a great validation of the B-Spec concept,” said Niffenegger. “Now that the cars can run in SCCA, World Challenge and Grand-Am in the same configuration, we’re confident the 2012 season will see a great deal of wheel-to-wheel battles in both the club and pro racing ranks.”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ford, Erlandson Claim Pacific Formula F Super Series Openers

The 2012 Corsa Car Care presents Pacific Formula F Super Series opened its season with a doubleheader race weekend at Willow Springs Raceway north of Los Angeles, with series newcomer Conner Ford and veteran West Coast FF racer Ed Erlandson each claiming a victory.

The five-car Formula F field was an encouraging start for the 10-race 2012 season, and included two Honda-powered entries, the Mygale Honda for Ford, fielded by PR1 Racing, and the Piper Honda entered and driven by Mike Simpson.

In Saturday’s opening round, Ford’s near-record lap was more than enough to claim the pole, with Erlandson starting on the outside of the front row. Simpson qualified third, as the oval-track Midget veteran adapted himself to his just-acquired, Honda-powered Piper DF5.

Ford was unchallenged in Race 1, as he steadily pulled away from the field to a six-second victory over Erlandson’s Swift DB-6 Ford. Simpson followed in third.

As often happens in the California high desert, the weather changed overnight, and the Formula F field was greeted by much cooler temperatures and higher winds, gusting up to 30-40 mph, for Sunday morning’s qualifying session. However, the top three were unchanged from the previous day, with Ford claiming his second pole of the weekend, followed by Erlandson and Simpson.

The winds calmed down substantially for the race, leading to an action-filled event. Once again, Ford took the lead at the start, while Simpson jumped ahead of Erlandson, giving Honda the top two positions early. But on Goodyear tires, Erlandson was not to be denied, as the veteran hauled in the Hoosier-shod cars of both Simpson and Ford to claim his first victory of 2012. Ford held on for second, with Simpson rounding out the top three for the second time during the weekend.

Next up for the Corsa Car Care presents Pacific Formula F Super Series is the April 26-29 doubleheader weekend at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. More information on this series is available at www.pacificF2000.com.

Meanwhile, the eastern U.S.-based F1600 Formula F Championship Series starts its own 10-race season April 12-15 at VIRginia International Raceway.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2012 Pirelli World Challenge Season Opens With Podium Finishes for Acura and Honda

The 2012 Pirelli World Challenge season got off to a promising start at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for both the RealTime Racing Acura TSX V-6 of Peter Cunningham and the Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si of Todd Lamb, as both scored a pair of second-place finishes during the doubleheader season-opening weekend.

The off-season switch to V-6 power paid dividends for the RealTime duo of Cunningham and teammate Nick Esayian, as the pair found their Acura NSXs on a much more equal footing with the V8-powered Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro competition in the GTS category.

Saturday - Race One

Starting second and fifth in GTS, Cunningham and Esayian avoided the early-lap carnage that resulted when a 47-car starting field squeezed into the confines of a 1.8-mile temporary circuit. After leading early, Cunningham finished second to the Mustang of Justin Bell following a fierce battle that was only halted by a race-ending caution flag. After running as high as fourth, contact with another GTS car sent Esayian into the wall and out of the race with suspension damage on Lap 6.

In TC, Lamb started and finished second in his Compass360 Honda, while fellow Civic racer Anthony Rapone rounded out the class podium with a third-place finish in his Durabond Racing Honda. The Civic Si is proving to be a popular choice in the always-competitive TC class. No fewer than seven of the 14 entries in the class are Civic Si’s.

Sunday – Race Two

In Sunday’s race, Cunningham started from the GTS pole, while Esayian rocketed from 14th on the grid to fifth on the opening lap. By mid-race, Cunningham and Bell had renewed their battle from the previous day, with Bell again just able to hold off the Acura at the checkers. Esayian bounced back from his difficulties on Saturday to finish a strong fifth in class.

The TC race also saw a repeat performance from the opening round, with Michael Cooper again claiming the class victory and Lamb leading the Honda contingent with another second-place result.

Next Up

Rounds One and Two of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will air on the NBC Sports Network, Sunday, April 8, at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

The Pirelli World Challenge Championships next travel to the streets of Long Beach, Calif., for the Long Beach Grand Prix presented by StopTech, April 13 – 15. The races will air live on http://www.world-challengetv.com/ April 14 and 15, at 7:15 p.m. EDT, with live timing and scoring available at http://www.world-challenge.com/.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Honda Performance Development Offering Contingency Program to Canadian Touring Car Championship

Honda Performance Development (HPD) will support the 2012 Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) with contingency offerings in the Super and Touring classes, as well as the new B-Spec category. Contingency monies will will be paid to first- through third-place finishers who campaign a Honda or Acura in the Super or Touring classes, or a Honda Fit in the B-Spec class, during the 2012 CTCC season. Additionally, HPD will reward championship-winning drivers in all classes during the 2012 CTCC season.

"Honda and Acura models have been well-represented in CTCC since our first event six years ago," noted John Bondar, President of Canadian Touring Car Championship. "They have been Champions in both Super Class and Touring Class, and I look forward to their challenge for supremacy in the B-Spec Class."

“Honda is proud to make fun cars that people really enjoy,” said Marc Sours, general manager of HPD. "Racing has always been very popular in Canada, and HPD is pleased to be a part of the exciting Canadian racing community."

Administered by HPD, the contingency payout structure will reward first, second- and third-place finishers in the Super and Touring classes, as follows:

Payout1st Place2nd Place3rd Place
Parts Credit - All Honda/Acura$ 250$ 125$ 75
Cash Award - 2012 Civic Si only$ 1,000$ 750$ 500

Driver Champion Bonus:  $ 2,500 Cash for 2012 Civic Si; $ 1,000 HPD Credit (all other models)

Additionally, HPD’s contingency payout structure will reward first, second- and third-place finishers with cash prizes in the B-Spec class, as follows:

Payout1st Place2nd Place3rd Place
10 or more class starters$ 500$ 300$ 125

Driver Champion Bonus:  $ 1,000

To be eligible for the HPD CTCC Contingency payout, competitors must be enrolled in the Honda Racing Line program and display the required “Honda Racing/HPD” and “H” decals on their race vehicles. Registration for the Honda Racing Line is available at http://racing.honda.com/hpd/race-for-honda/registration.aspx

All 2012 HPD CTCC Contingency Program award recipients will be able to use their parts credits toward Honda Racing Line purchases.

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