Honda Associates Make Successful Runs At Sunday’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

HPD Racing Report Sunday, June 29, 2014

• Roy Richards’ Honda Fit EV Wins with Record Time in Electric Production Class • Honda Powers Romain Dumas to overall win

Honda’s racing lineup for the 2014 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb had a little something for everyone with a 24 Hours of Le Mans winner racing right alongside Honda associates in vehicles ranging from an Acura NSX to a Honda Fit. At the end of the day, four Honda drivers and riders earned top-five class finishes in Sunday’s 12.42-mile sprint to the top of Pikes Peak, while Honda’s world-renowned race engines did the job, powering Romain Dumas to his first overall Pikes Peak title.

Associates from American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda Performance Development (HPD), Honda North America and Honda R&D combined to field six vehicles for Honda associates in this year’s race. With five of the six Honda drivers having previously competed at Pikes Peak, each of the six vehicles made successful runs to the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak summit, including the Honda Fit EV of Roy Richards, which won the Electric Production class in a race-record time.

In addition to the efforts of its associates in Sunday’s race, Honda provided power for Dumas in his own Norma RD Limited prototype chassis entry in the Unlimited class. Starting first, Dumas pushed his Honda powerplant to a race-winning time of 9:05.801 to claim his first race win and the first overall Pikes Peak victory for a Honda-powered car.

Richards’ run of 12:55.591 gave his blue-hued Honda Fit EV the class win, marking the 13th consecutive year that a Honda-powered vehicle has won at least one class in the famed event. James Robinson posted the fastest time of the six Honda associate-driven vehicles in his Acura Pikes Peak NSX, finishing sixth in the Open Class with a time of 11:09.134. Zach Jacobs rode his Honda CBR600RR throughout the course’s 156 turns in 11:11.885 to place fifth in the Middleweight motorcycle class, while Sage Marie’s effort of 11:59.095 in his Honda S2000 was good for fourth in the Time Attack 2 class.

Keith Steidl placed sixth in the quad class with a time of 12:31.245, while the only rookie in the 2014 class, Corey Taguchi, placed fourth in the Exhibition standings after posting a time of 14:26.438 in his Honda Fit.

Romain Dumas (Norma RD Honda) overall race winner: “After [finishing 2nd in] 2012, the target was to win one. This year, we did a perfect job, the [Honda engine] was running good and we prepared how we should. I knew I was running smoothly, so I didn’t want to take any risks. It was a clear run. It was not incredible, but it was enough to win and that was the target anyway. We are very happy, and this is a big win for the team.’

Roy Richards (Honda Fit EV) winner, new record time, Electric Production class: “I am very pleased with the Fit EV’s performance this year. “We knew from last year’s practice times that the Fit EV had a shot at the record, but weather spoiled our run. Building on the knowledge gained from last year, our team refined the suspension settings and did additional weight reduction. The results were better than we expected with a new record for the production EV class.”

James Robinson (Acura Pikes Peak NSX) 6th, Open Class: “ I’m very pleased I got to the top, because just after Glen Cove my rear brakes went out and driving became much more challenging! It was quite a handful getting it to the top with no brakes, so I was all the more thrilled that we were able to beat our time from last year by about 30 seconds!”

Steve Eriksen (Vice President and COO, Honda Performance Development) on the 2014 Hill Climb: “In returning as the Partnering Sponsor for the event, we were very pleased to power Romain Dumas and his team in their successful attempt at the overall title and additionally to set a new Electric Production Car record at the 92nd running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Most satisfying was seeing the teamwork and camaraderie exhibited by Honda associates from a variety of Honda companies, including Honda R&D, Honda North America, and Honda Performance Development, working together to support a variety of competition entries highlighting the breadth of products that only Honda can provide. The inaugural application of the AirFence increased safety on the course in the sections applied and proved to be a worthy addition to the event. Despite this safety improvement, racing on the mountain has its risks, and our thoughts go out to the family of fellow competitor Bobby Goodin who succumbed to injuries sustained after completing his run up the mountain.”

Published on 29 June 2014 at 01:46AM by Jeff, tags ,

HPD Propels OAK Racing Team Asia To Successful Le Mans Debut

HPD Racing Report Utilizing a production-based Honda HR28TT V6 engine from Honda Performance Development, paired to a new Ligier JS P2 chassis, OAK Racing Team Asia finished seventh in the competitive LMP2 class Sunday at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The all-Chinese driver lineup of Ho-Pin Tung, Adderly Fong and David Cheng produced a solid, consistent run in changeable weather conditions, including a sudden downpour in the second hour that sent several other cars off track and out of the contest.

Of the driver trio, only Tung had previous Le Mans experience. The Onroak Automotive Ligier JSP2 chassis was equally new, making its World Endurance Championship debut at Le Mans, as well as its first race with the Honda HR28TT V6 engine, a proven component that had previously powered the HPD ARX-03b chassis to the LMP2 victory at Le Mans in 2012.

The HPD-developed Honda engine used at Le Mans – and in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – is derived from the Honda “J35” series of production V6 engines and includes relevant twin-turbocharger technology, along with the efficiency provided by direct fuel injection. Key production based components utilized in the HR28TT include block and heads, direct injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire throttle, alternator, sensors, fasteners, etc. The engine even utilizes a stock Honda oil filter.

HPD’s prototype racing efforts have resulted in more than 60 victories and multiple American Le Mans Series championships. HPD won the LMP2 title in the inaugural 2012 World Endurance Championship and won the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2010 and 2012. In 2013, HPD-equipped Strakka Racing claimed the LMP1 class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for private team entries.

For its debut event, OAK Racing Team Asia’s goal was to avoid unnecessary risks and successfully complete the 24 hours. After the rain showers departed at dusk, the Ligier-Honda combination continued a nearly faultless run, delayed by only a minor off-course excursion in the third hour, a punctured rear tire just after midnight, and a brief pit stop to replace the paddle-shift compressor in the early morning hours.

As a result, the team steadily advanced through the LMP2 field, moving to 10th in class in the fifth hour, and eighth as the 12-hour mark approached, a position the team held through the remainder of the night and into the morning hours. In the run to the checkers, the Ligier-Honda gained one more position to finish 7th in LMP2. Late-race attrition in the quicker LMP1 category also saw OAK Racing Team Asia move up in the overall order, just missing a top-10 result with an 11th-place overall finish.

HPD Racing Report – 2 This weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was also the third round of the 2013 World Endurance Championship. The WEC now takes a three-month break before traveling to the United States for the Six Hours of the Circuit of the Americas, September 20 in Austin, Texas.

Ho-Pin Tung (OAK Racing Team Asia Ligier JS P2 Honda) finished 7th in LMP2 and 11th overall: “First of all, I would like to say that was an amazing job by OAK Racing and HPD. Just a few weeks ago, this car was just a monocoque in the workshop, without anything else attached. In just a few weeks, they managed to build a car that was fast and reliable. We had no issues at all during the 24 hours, so it’s really unbelievable! For me, it’s a great result. I think I did almost half the race, and I enjoyed every single part of it. This is my first finish at Le Mans. Next year, the target is going to be different; we’re going to go for [podium] positions.”

Allen Miller (Prototype Project Leader, Honda Performance Development) on this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans: “We’re quite happy with the outcome of our first venture with the Onroak organization and the Ligier JS2 chassis. They’ve built a very nice car that has proven to be both quick and reliable. To debut a new chassis-engine combination at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a huge task, yet we made it through the race pretty much ‘untouched’. The Ligier-Honda combination definitely has more potential, and our race laps were as much as two seconds quicker than qualifying. So we expect to see significant improvement in future races. Other than our planned pit stops, we had only a few small issues – such as two cut tires – throughout the 24 hours. The all-Chinese driver team did a great job of avoiding trouble in an incident filled race. Congratulations to them, everyone at OAK Racing Team Asia, and all the associates at HPD involved in this program.”

Published on 15 June 2014 at 02:07AM by Jeff, tags , , ,