Honda previews the Long Beach GP
The 2012 season marks the return of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Lotus now join Honda in providing engines to the 26-car starting field.
After two races this year - the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon leads the 10-driver Honda-powered contingent. Second-place finishes at both St. Petersburg and Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama have Dixon slotted second in the drivers' championship, just two points behind championship leader Helio Castroneves.
Dixon has led more laps this season, 75, than any other driver, including race-high totals of 37 laps at St. Petersburg and 38 at Barber. Castroneves is ranked second with 56 laps led, followed by Will Power, third with 33 laps led.
Five Honda-powered drivers currently rank among the Top 10 in the championship. In addition to Dixon, Simon Pagenaud is ranked 5th; Graham Rahal 7th; Mike Conway 9th and Dario Franchitti 10th.
Honda comes to this weekend's race second in the Manufacturers' Championship, with 12 points, to 18 for Chevrolet. Lotus is third, with eight points.
From 2006-2011, Honda supplied engines to every IndyCar Series competitor. A total of 98 drivers raced with the Honda Indy V-8 during that period, with 15 drivers recording race victories. Honda engines logged approximately 1.2 million miles of practice, qualifying and racing in the series; and nearly 500,000 actual race miles.
During the six years that Honda served as IndyCar engine supplier, the company also provided engines to the full 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field - and for the only six times in Indy 500 history (2006-2011), there were no engine failures recorded in the Memorial Day weekend classic.
Honda's popular 'Fastest Seat in Sports' sweepstakes will make its third stop of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season prior to Sunday's Long Beach Grand Prix. Beverly Delp of Brownsburg, IN will be taken for the ride of a lifetime around the 1.97-mile Long Beach street circuit in a two-seater Indy car during the pace laps leading to Sunday's green flag. The 'Fastest Seat in Sports' sweepstakes continues through the season at selected IZOD IndyCar Series events. Interested fans can learn more about the promotion at shophonda.com .
On Monday, April 16, the day after the Grand Prix of Long Beach, all 10 Honda IZOD IndyCar Series drivers will visit Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, California, where the Honda Indy V-6 engines are designed, produced and maintained; followed by a visit to American Honda corporate headquarters in Torrance.
HONDA CIVIC Si PACE AND SAFETY CARS
A fleet of new 2012 Honda Civic Si coupes and sedans are being used as Safety Cars and Pace Cars in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series. The Civic Si Coupe made its debut as an IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car at last year's Honda Indy Toronto. That first Civic has now been joined by additional coupes and sedans, replacing the Honda Accords formerly used by the series.
Cars start out as standard Civic Si models, and one coupe has been developed into an IndyCar Series Safety Car by Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Modifications installed at HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit, consisting of front, side and rear under spoilers; Firestone Firehawk 225/40 R18 tires mounted on Enkei alloy wheels, and an IZOD IndyCar Series graphics package.