Honda IndyCar Long Beach Talking Points

Grand Prix of Long Beach, California
April 19, 2015
4 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network
IndyCar Radio Network Broadcast and Live Stream

* Honda comes to Long Beach following a 1-3-4 finish last weekend at the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans. Honda’s James Hinchcliffe posted his fourth career Indy car victory at New Orleans, with his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate James Jakes finishing third and Andretti Autosport’s Simona de Silvestro, fourth.

* Honda-powered drivers and teams have won the Grand Prix of Long Beach 11 times in 15 appearances, including a seven-year victory streak in Championship Auto Racing Teams competition from 1996-2002.

* Honda-powered winners at Long Beach include Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-98), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Paul Tracy (2000), Helio Castroneves (2001), Michael Andretti (his final Indy car victory, in 2002), Dario Franchitti (2009), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Mike Conway (2011) and Takuma Sato (2013).

* Since its founding in 1993, Honda Performance Development (HPD), the racing arm of the American Honda Motor Co., Inc., has grown from just a handful of staffers to approximately 150 associates; and from an simple engine-rebuilding facility to a complete motorsports Research & Development organization, engaged in programs ranging from the Verizon IndyCar Series, Pirelli World Challenge, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship to grassroots and entry-level categories including karting, Quarter Midgets and Formula F competition.

* HPD’s successful sports-car racing program will be featured Saturday at Long Beach, as Honda-equipped Michael Shank Racing takes on the rest of the prototype field in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event with its Ligier-Honda driven by John Pew and Ozz Negri.

* Honda previously won the 2013 American Le Mans Series race here, with Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr winning overall in their Muscle Milk Motorsports HPD ARX-03c; while Extreme Speed Motorsports won in the LMP2 category with Guy Cosmo and Scott Sharp driving the team’s HPD ARX-03b.

* Sunday afternoon, RealTime Racing will spearhead the Acura Motorsports effort in the Pirelli World Challenge race, with a pair of Acura TLX GTs driven by Peter Cunningham and St. Petersburg race winner Ryan Eversley.

* On Monday, April 20, the day after the Grand Prix of Long Beach, 12 Honda-powered Verizon IndyCar Series drivers will visit Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, CA to meet with the associates who design, build and maintain their Honda HI15RTT twin-turbo V6 Indy car engines; then meet with American Honda associates in the afternoon at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Torrance, CA.

* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series, the fourth season of the current generation of manufacturer competition, sees the introduction of manufacturer-developed Aero Kits to Indy car racing as another element of competition between Honda and Chevrolet. Each manufacturer has developed visually distinctive, performance-enhancing aerodynamic packages for use by its respective teams.

* Manufacturers were able to develop their own front/rear wing endplates, sidepods, engine covers, rear-wheel guards, and front/rear wing flaps, as long as they fit inside designated “volume boxes” as specified by INDYCAR.

* Aero kits allow multiple combinations of aerodynamic elements to suit the strategy and preferences of each team. This brings a new challenge to both Honda and individual team race engineers, who may mix and match these parts in an effort to find the right combination of downforce for optimum performance during both qualifications and the race at each Verizon IndyCar Series circuit.

* In accordance with INDYCAR regulations for 2015, Honda designed one aero kit for road/street courses/short ovals, and a second superspeedway aero kit, which will debut later this season, for use on oval speedways of 1.5 miles and longer. Cost of engine manufacturer aero kits is capped at $75,000 per entry.

* Drivers and teams using Honda engines have won 212 Indy car races and 10 Indianapolis 500s, both during years of multi-manufacturer competition (1994-2005, 2012); and during Honda’s tenure as single engine supplier to the series (2006-11). Honda’s most recent “500” winner is Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, who emerged victorious in the 2014 running of the Memorial Day classic, and will defend his championship next month.

* Video News Releases from this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race in New Orleans are being posted on a specially created “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group.

* Headed by longtime motorsports broadcaster Rick Benjamin, CPG is providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events during 2015. The video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: