Honda Commits To Next Generation Car

Honda Performance Development is the first engine manufacturer to commit to the next generation of IZOD IndyCar Series car.

HPD president Erik Berkman announced before qualifications at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course that the racing arm of American Honda Motor Company is extending participation beyond expiration of its current supply agreement at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

HPD will continue to provide the Honda Indy V-8 engine to all competitors during the 2011 season, after which a 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 power plant, designed by HPD, will debut when new engine specifications take effect in the series in 2012.

The cost of a season-long lease for the 2012 Honda IndyCar engine will be reduced by up to 40 percent from current pricing. This follows a number of other significant cost reductions, which Honda has implemented since taking on the challenge of supplying the entire field of entrants in 2006. HPD has provided engines to the series since 2003.

"Through both robust and trying times, our commitment to open-wheel racing in America has never wavered," Berkman said. "With today's announcement, we are pleased to reaffirm that commitment, and extend it deep into the current decade.

"With a passionate and energetic new title sponsor in IZOD, dynamic new management at its helm, and plans to significantly reshape its on-track product in the near future, the IZOD IndyCar Series is poised for significant growth. We are delighted to take a role in that promising future."

On June 2, IZOD IndyCar Series officials announced that its 2012 engine platform will allow manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders as well as maximum displacement of 2.4 cubic liters. The ethanol-fueled engines will produce between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes and will be turbocharged to allow for flexibility in power.

Other manufacturers are welcome to join Honda in supplying engines.

"The ICONIC Advisory Committee has researched future engine platforms with manufacturers, teams, drivers and fans, and they felt this strategy best highlights key attributes of the sport - speed, competition and diversity," IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said. "We feel this open and all-inclusive platform will make our sport an attractive option to engine manufacturers, while allowing development of a relevant and innovative platform to the current and future automotive industry by highlighting efficiency, performance, durability, quality, environmental responsibility and safety."

Founded in 1993 and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for American Honda high-performance racing cars and engines.

"By Honda extending its participation, I think it says a lot of what the IndyCar Series is now and where it's going," said Gil de Ferran, managing partner of de Ferran Dragon Racing and former sporting director for Honda's F1 program. "Manufacturers aren't forced to participate in motorsports, and they're not forced to participate in any one series per say. They do so because they choose to and because they can see the benefits that motorsports can bring to the business of selling road cars. Honda, as people like to say, is a racing company that happens to sell road cars."

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