|Honda 2009 Automobile Motorsports Overview|
|February 19, 2009–Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced its motorsports strategy and initiatives to cultivate new talent to claim the podium at world-class racing events and expand the popularity of motorsports. An overview of its 2009 automobile motorsports activities is outlined below.
Outline of Honda Automobile Motorsports Activities in 2009
1. Motorsports Strategy
For racing activities within Japan, under the Honda NSX-GT Project, Honda is focused on recapturing the double titles of individual and team championships in the Super GT with five teams and five cars participating, similar to last year. And at Formula Nippon, for which Honda has been providing engines since 2006, starting this season, Honda will supply three teams and five cars with the newly developed HR09E, a 3.4-liter V-8 engine.
In the North American region, Honda began its participation in open wheel racing in 2003 and has been the sole engine supplier to the IRL® IndyCar® Series since 2006. Once again this year, Honda will provide all teams with a V8 HI9R engine running on 100% ethanol fuel. Honda has also taken part in the American Le Mans Series since 2007, and alongside its participation in the LMP2 class, Honda will begin competing this season in the pinnacle of the series, the LMP1 class, with the Acura ARX-02a equipped with an Acura LM-AR7 4.0-liter V8 engine.
2. Cultivating New Talent to Claim the Podium at World-class Racing Events
With the objective of developing drivers able to claim the podium at top-level races inside and outside of Japan, Honda will actively strive to develop young racers under the Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP). Activities are ongoing from a long-term point of view through the racing schools of Suzuka Circuit Racing School Kart (SRS-K) and Suzuka Circuit Racing School Formula (SRS-F), in addition to Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ), the Japanese Formula 3 Championship and Formula Nippon.
3. Expanding the Popularity of Motorsports
Mobilityland Corporation will continue to host racing events and actively create venues and opportunities for people to watch, participate in and enjoy racing, contributing to the further growth of the motorsports culture in Japan.
At the Suzuka International Racing Course, full-scale renovation work will soon be completed. As the opening event on April 12, the Circuit will be hosting the Start Suzuka Opening Thanks Day - F1 Kick-off Party. And after a break of two years, the Grand Prix of Japan, Round 15 of the Formula One World Championship, will be held, October 2-4. The Indy™ Japan 300 mile race, Round 16 of the IRL® IndyCar® Series, will be held at Twin Ring Motegi, September 17-19.
Other events on the calendar this year include the Honda Exciting Cup One-Make Race-Civic Series as well as driving meetings for Honda vehicle owners and various participatory events to be held throughout Japan.
In its motorsports activities, the symbol of Honda's challenging spirit, the company has aimed for the world's top level from the days of its founding and taken on challenges in a variety of racing categories. Going forward, Honda aims to continue to tackle new themes with the know-how and challenging spirit cultivated in its motorsports activities, and share with its customers the dreams and excitement generated by these activities.
[Outline of Racing Strategy]
♦ SUPER GT
The Honda NSX-GT Project, in cooperation with M-TEC Co., Ltd. and Dome Co., Ltd., is fielding five teams and five cars in the GT500 class of the Super GT, with the focus on recapturing the double titles of driver and team championships.
♦ Formula Nippon
Honda will supply three teams and five cars with the newly developed HR09E 3.4-liter V8 engine through Japan Race Promotion, Inc.
♦ IRL® IndyCar® Series
As the sole engine supplier for the IRL® IndyCar® Series, Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will supply the HI9R 3.5-liter V8 engine to all teams.
♦ American Le Mans Series
Starting this season, HPD will take part in the pinnacle of the American Le Mans Series, the LMP1 class. De Ferran Motorsports and Patron Highcroft Racing will compete in Acura ARX-02a vehicles equipped with the newly developed Acura LM-AR7 4.0-liter V8 engine.
Additionally, continuing last year's participation in the LMP2 class, Lowe's Fernandez Racing will compete in the Acura ARX-01b with a 3.4-liter V8 engine.
♦ Formula Dream Project
Honda is expanding the Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP), a program for cultivating talent with the aim of discovering and training skilled, young drivers to be active inside and outside of Japan. This season, the project will be supporting two drivers competing in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship National Class, and one driver taking part in the British F3 International.
And as part of Honda's ongoing cooperation with the Junior Formula race "Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ)*," Honda will support the participation of three drivers with scholarships.