HPD Blog

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.   

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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

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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 

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