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CorporateU.S.A.April 12, 2006
Acura Joins the American Le Mans Series

NEW YORK, U.S.A., April 12, 2006– Acura will enter the 2007 American Le Mans Series, competing in the LMP2 class, company officials have announced.  This will mark Acura’s first factory motorsports program in the 20-year history of the company.  

ALMS Engine

Acura ALMS Race Car Concept.

An Acura-powered endurance-racing prototype will make its competition debut at the 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March of 2007, racing against manufacturer-supported efforts from Audi, Porsche and Mazda, and a variety of well-equipped privateer teams. 

“As Acura marks its 20-year anniversary, I can’t think of a better racing series to showcase our technology and performance than the American Le Mans Series,” said John Mendel, senior vice president, auto sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.  “Our entry as a full factory team in the American Le Mans Series will accurately reflect Acura’s position as a leader in automotive performance and technology, and provide us with an arena in which to compete against other manufacturers in endurance sports car racing.”

The American Le Mans Series draws on the heritage of long- distance "endurance" sports car racing in both Europe and the United States as exemplified by the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 10- race domestic series includes the 12 Hours of Sebring - a U.S. fixture since 1952 - plus events at the country's premier road circuits, including Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park and Road Atlanta.

Sports car competition in the American Le Mans Series features multi-class racing of high-tech sports car prototypes and production-based Grand Touring machinery, with both factory-entered manufacturer teams and relentless privateers battling for victory.  State-of-the-art technology and engineering, in everything from electronics to aerodynamics to fuel efficiency, are keys to success in the Series.  Manufacturers currently fielding teams include Volkswagen/Audi, Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Lexus, Aston Martin, Panoz and Chevrolet.

The American Le Mans Series is one of the fastest-growing racing series in the U.S., with a rapidly growing fan base attending the events and watching on television.  Five of the 10 races in 2006 will be broadcast by CBS, with the remaining five events and Le Mans telecast on the cable/satellite SPEED network, including a prime-time season finale at Laguna Seca.

"We are delighted to have Acura join the American Le Mans Series," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the Series.

The new Acura American Le Mans Series program will feature the first racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by Honda Performance Development of (HPD) Santa Clarita, California, American Honda’s wholly-owned racing subsidiary.  It will mark the first time HPD has taken on multiple concurrent motorsports programs in both the American Le Mans Series and the Indy Racing League.

Acura will take part in the full American Le Mans Series schedule, while at the same time Honda continues its long-standing participation in the Indy Racing League, supplying the entire IndyCar Series field with Honda Indy V-8 engines.

 “We’re looking forward with great anticipation to entering the American Le Mans Series,” said Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Development.  “In addition to returning Acura to the international racing stage against other innovative automotive manufacturers, it allows us to continue to grow HPD into a world-class performance company.”

In 2007, the Acura race program will feature HPD-designed and developed engines, and chassis from multiple manufacturers, including Lola Cars International, Ltd., of England, and Courage of France. After initial competition in the LMP2 class, plans call for the development of an Acura LMP1 chassis and engine package to compete in the American Le Mans Series, and earn an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Honda Performance Development was founded in 1993 as the wholly owned racing subsidiary of American Honda Motor Company, Inc.  It has served as the technical operations center for Honda’s IndyCar engine program.  HPD last year opened a new, 123,000-square-foot headquarters to increase the company’s racing manufacturing, research and development capacities. 

Acura previously participated in the International Motor Sports Association in the early 1990s, providing sponsorship and additional support for the Comptech Racing team in the Camel Lights division.  Although not a full factory effort, Comptech and lead driver Parker Johnstone won three consecutive class titles from 1991-93 in an Acura-powered Spice chassis, with 22 race wins in 38 starts, including the historic 12 Hours of Sebring in 1993. In addition, Acura has supported the multiple championship-winning efforts of Peter Cunningham and RealTime Racing in SCCA World Challenge/Speed TV competition.

Testing of the Acura-powered American Le Mans Series cars will begin this summer, with drivers and teams to be announced in the near future.

Major Manufacturer 2006 American Le Mans Series Teams & Drivers
LMP2 Manufacturers Teams Selected Drivers

Porsche Penske Motorsports Sascha Maassen,  Lucas Luhr
Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas

Mazda BK Motorsports Guy Cosmo, Raphael Matos

Courage Miracle Motorsports James Gue, Andy Lally

Lola Intersport Racing Jon Field, Clint Field, Liz Halliday

LMP1 Manufacturers

Audi Audi Sport North America Tom Kristensen, Frank Biela, Allan McNish, Emanuele Pirro, Marco Werner

Lola Dyson Racing James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger, Chris Dyson, Guy Smith, Andy Wallace

  Highcroft Racing Duncan Dayton, Gregor Fisken, Rick Knoop

  Autocon Racing Michael Lewis, Chris McMurry, Bryan Willman

GT Manufacturers

Chevrolet Corvette Racing Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell, Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, Max Papis, Jan Magnussen

Aston Martin Aston Martin Racing Tomas Enge, Darren Turner, Nicholas Kiesa

BMW Team PTG Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand

Lexus Team Lexus Terry Borcheller, Townsend Bell

Ferrari Risi Competizione Ralf Kelleners, Anthony Lazzaro

Panoz Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz David Brabham, Scott Maxwell, Gunnar Jeannette

Porsche Alex Job Racing Mike Rockenfeller, Graham Rahal
  Petersen/White Lightning Patrick Long, Jorg Bergmeister
  Flying Lizard Johannes van Overbeek, Jon Fogarty,
  Motorsports Seth Neiman, Darren Law
  J3 Racing Tim Sugden

2006 American Le Mans Series Race Schedule

March 18 Mobil-1 12 Hours of Sebring Sebring International Raceway
Sebring, Fla.

May 12 Lone Star Grand Prix Reliant Park (temporary street circuit)
Houston, Texas

CBS Sports
May 21 American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Lexington, Ohio

CBS Sports
June 17-18 24 Hours of Le Mans Le Mans Circuit Le Sarthe
Le Mans, France

July 1 New England Grand Prix Lime Rock Park
Lime Rock, Ct.
CBS Sports
July 15 Grand Prix of Utah Miller Motorsports Park
Salt Lake City, Utah

CBS Sports
July 22 Grand Prix of Portland Portland International Raceway
Portland, Ore.

CBS Sports
Aug. 20 Generac 500 at Road America Road America
Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Sept. 3 Grand Prix of Mosport Mosport Park
Bowmanville, Ont., Canada

Sept. 30 Petit Le Mans Road Atlanta
Braselton, Ga.

Oct. 21 Monterey Sport Car Championships Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca
Monterey, Calif.


2007 Acura American Le Mans Series Entry

Engine Specifications:
Engine Type Normally aspirated, fuel-injected, aluminum alloy cylinder block V-8
Displacement 3.4 liters
Horsepower 500+ bhp
Valve Train Dual overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder
Engine Management Motorola/Honda ECU
Ignition System CDI
Lubrication Dry sump
Cooling Single water pump

Honda Performance Development, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Honda Performance Development (HPD), a subsidiary of American
Honda Motor Co., Inc..  Established in 1993 and located in Santa Clarita, California, HPD is the technical operations center for Honda's high performance racing engines. HPD coordinates Honda's participation in the IRL and ALMS racing series.

FACILITY: HPD’s 123,000-square-foot facility houses comprehensive engine Research & Development operations including engine design; development engineering; prototype and production parts manufacturing; race engine preparation and rebuilding; material analysis facilities; quality control inspection areas; five engine dyno test cells; machine shop; electronics lab; parts center; multiple meeting/conference rooms; and administrative offices. HPD currently has 125 associates, headed by company president Robert Clarke.
Related Links

· Honda Performance Development Inc.
· U.S.A.
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