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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Honda motorsport restructuring opens door to WEC, Le Mans bid

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It was introduced on Thursday that Honda Efficiency Improvement, the motorsport arm of American Honda Motor Co. based mostly out of Santa Clarita in California, will be part of Japan’s Honda Racing Company to develop into HRC US. 

The purpose is for one world HRC entity to boast mixed experience as Honda re-enters Formulation 1 in 2026 with Aston Martin. With three F1 races now held in America – in Austin, Miami and Las Vegas – the rebranded HRC US may even be concerned in F1 energy unit growth and race assist from 2026. 

HPD was established in 1993 to provide engines for the IndyCar Sequence, and has gone on to assert 280 race wins from 510 races, together with 15 victories within the Indianapolis 500. 

In recent times, it has expanded its operations to incorporate IMSA SportsCar Championship competitors, scoring three IMSA producers’, drivers’ and groups’ titles since 2018 and three consecutive Daytona 24 Hours victories. 

The collaboration with HRC in Japan implies that HPD’s programme with the Acura ARX-06, which runs within the GTP class in IMSA, can have a smoother pathway to changing into a Honda or Acura WEC and Le Mans venture.  

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Together with its works group, Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti International, that factors to a possible programme outdoors of the U.S. in 2025, which had been a barrier underneath the earlier set-up attributable to HPD’s restricted remit inside North America.

“Our aim is to extend the HRC model and maintain the success of our racing actions and we consider that uniting Honda motorsports globally as one racing organisation will assist obtain that,” stated Koji Watanabe, president of HRC Japan.

“Our race engineers within the U.S. and Japan shall be stronger collectively and I’m so completely satisfied to welcome our U.S. associates to the HRC group.” 

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque pit cease

Picture by: Artwork Fleischmann

David Salters, the president of HPD who will tackle the identical function of HRC US, added: “Honda’s racing heritage is unparalleled and during the last 30 years and the proficient women and men of HPD have contributed to that success within the U.S. 

“We’re thrilled and really proud to affix forces with our pals and colleagues in HRC Japan and symbolize Honda Racing as a worldwide racing organisation.

“We are going to proceed to problem ourselves in U.S. motorsports actions at the same time as we develop our individuals and expertise to compete on a quickly altering world motorsports stage.” 

The 2024 Daytona 24 Hours on 27-28 January would be the inaugural race for the newly rebranded HRC US, with the Acura ARX-06 LMDhs to sport HRC logos as a part of their liveries. 

However the potential to race the automobile throughout the globe within the WEC, and at Le Mans, has lengthy been a speaking level. 

“We’ve all the time been very clear – we have to have a look at WEC,” stated Salters.

“Now we have an incredible ARX-06, which has been the work of our group, [chassis partner] ORECA and our race groups have achieved a surprising job. So, we’re smitten with it and it’s eligible to go to WEC.  

“Now we have all the time stated it must make enterprise, model and advertising and marketing sense. Very importantly for me, it must make aggressive sense. We don’t go racing to not be aggressive – it’s too exhausting!

#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

Picture by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

“There’s a extra formal setting to guage them now, as a result of we’re all world motorsport, however the boundary circumstances are nonetheless the identical and we have to consider if that is sensible, and we’ll do our due diligence to see what is sensible for our firm and our individuals.” 

As regards to a timeframe for a transfer into WEC competitors, Salters dominated out speak of a programme in 2024, and stated: “It’s not been outlined, so we always work on that stuff to see what is sensible on the place we go sooner or later.

“We’re future methods and haven’t any particular timescales for the time being, however we’re evaluating it severely.” 

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