HPD & Highcroft Claim ALMS Championships
For the fourth time this season, the Honda Performance Development ARX-01c of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti found its way to victory circle in American Le Mans Series competition, taking LMP2 class honors Saturday at Road Atlanta in the season-closing Petit Le Mans. The win was more than enough to secure both the ALMS chassis and engine manufacturers' championships for HPD, and the drivers' title for the season-long Highcroft pairing of Brabham and Pagenaud.
The Highcroft Racing HPD prototype enjoyed a nearly trouble-free run throughout the 1,000- mile endurance event to claim the LMP2 category by a massive 11-lap margin, and finished fourth overall. This weekend's victory at Road Atlanta joined other HPD/Highcroft triumphs earlier this season at Long Beach, Miller Motorsports Park and Laguna Seca, as well as podium finishes in the remaining races, to clinch Highcroft's second consecutive LMP title.
HPD won both the LMP1 and LMP2 Manufacturers' Championships in 2009 under the Acura banner, becoming the first manufacturer to do so in ALMS competition. This year, HPD claimed the combined LMP class for engine manufacturers - where it defeated Porsche and Mazda - and chassis constructors, where competition came from Lola and Porsche, among others. For the second consecutive year, HPD also clinched the 2010 Michelin Green X Challenge environmental award for prototypes, demonstrating that HPD's products are both fast and environmentally efficient.
"This has been an incredible year for HPD in sports-prototype competition," said Stephen Eriksen, HPD assistant vice president. "To repeat as champions in this very competitive arena has been a great challenge, but one our associates and partners have again met and passed with flying colors. Combined with our success in Europe and at Le Mans, it's been an unbelievable season. A special thanks goes out to all of our sports-prototype teams, HPD associates, and our friends at Wirth Research and Michelin. We could not have achieved such success without such fantastic partners."
For 2010 HPD began providing engines and support for sports-car competition in both the American Le Mans Series and European-based Le Mans Series. Last month, Strakka Racing and RML Racing finished 1-2 in the European Le Mans Series' LMP2 category, scoring a total of four LMS class wins - including an overall victory at the Hungaroring.
Strakka also claimed LMP2 honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, with RML finishing third. In addition to winning its class, the Strakka HPD was fifth overall and established a new LMP2 record for distance covered in the endurance racing classic, HPD's first appearance at the famed event.
In 2011, HPD will offer a new LMP2 engine to customers participating in the American Le Mans Series, European Le Mans Series, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Intercontinental Cup competitions.
Based on Honda's production-based global V6 engine, the new engine is a 2.8-liter, twin-turbo power plant, utilizing HPD's exclusive engine-control system, and is the product of a joint effort between HPD and Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA).