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AGR/Fernandez/Rahal teams eyes ALMS with HondaUPDATE #8 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcements - see Hot News page.
07/17/06 AutoWeek reports that Honda has ordered both the LeMans winning Lola B05/40 chassis-and the as-yet-unraced Courage LC75. It appears likely that AGR and Highcroft will race Courages, probably one each but perhaps two for AGR, and that Fernandez will use the Lola.
07/16/06 According to SPEEDTV.com, there is a chance that Marco and Michael Andretti could pair up at next year's 12 Hours of Sebring ALMS enduro in he Honda that they will be running. An announcement is expected Thursday that Fernandez Racing and Andretti Green Racing will be running Hondas on the LMP2 class of ALMS next year.
07/16/06 LEBANON, Tenn. -- The Indy Racing League's 2007 schedule has yet to be announced, but two of its race teams, both based in Indianapolis, are about to get busier.
Andretti Green Racing and Fernandez Racing will be two of the three Honda teams that will debut next year in the prototype division of the American Le Mans Series.
Fernandez already has a sports car team currently participating in the rival of ALMS, the Grand American Road Racing Series. AGR will add its new program to its shop on the city's Northwestside.
Both teams plan to continue their IRL programs, AGR with four cars, Fernandez with two.
Honda's third ALMS team will be Highcroft Racing, owned by Connecticut-based Duncan Dayton.
Drivers have not been selected, but two of AGR's drivers -- Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta -- are considering a move to ALMS.
"They'd be naturals," AGR co-owner Kevin Savoree said Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway. "They're both great drivers with great (personalities), and they're both key parts of the Honda family."
Franchitti said IRL is his first priority, but he is considering ALMS. Herta likes the idea of being involved in a new program, but he's an Indy-car driver at heart and like Franchitti, he has the option to return to his IRL car.
"I love Indy cars, but how much longer can I do this, two or three years?" he said. "ALMS is the chance to start with something new, a startup deal, and build it into something I could be with for a long time.
04/18/06 Recently we have been hearing again that both Rahal Letterman Racing and Andretti Green Racing would enter ALMS as Honda teams. It may also be why Michael Andretti was at Long Beach last weekend, to meet with Honda's Robert Clarke. Ditto for Bobby Rahal who was also in Long Beach to support his son's efforts in the Champ Car Atlantics Series. We attempted to get a statement from Rahal Letterman Racing, but they would not confirm or deny the rumors.
A team spokesperson said, "We are in the business of racing and we are always looking for opportunities to expand our racing business in a logical manner, be it by adding additional cars to existing programs or the creation of new programs. Bobby has made no secret of his desire to get involved in sports car racing. We have always taken a pragmatic business approach to these opportunities, looking to secure the necessary funding first. It has been our longstanding policy not to comment on rumors or speculation with regards to new programs, sponsors or drivers. If the time comes that we are prepared to launch a new program the team will hold a press conference."
04/09/06 See this rumor below which may go hand-in-hand with the rumored Honda/ALMS announcement coming up. Will Rahal Letterman Racing be a factory Honda team in the ALMS?
12/01/05 There is a frequent rumor circulating that Honda may be getting into the ALMS ballgame for the first time. Racing legend Bobby Rahal is rumored to be tabbed by Honda to head its effort, which would be based on either a Lola chassis or possibly an in-house-designed one paired with a derivative of Honda’s IRL (Indy Racing League) engine.
The significance of a second Japanese manufacturer in the series (along with Mazda) could lure Toyota and possibly Nissan into the series as well.
Another positive would be that the crowd of young adults and teens who are heavy into the import hot-rod scene could possibly be lured by the prospect of watching Japanese iron compete on the tracks of ALMS. Highlands Today
11/15/05 We are now hearing that Team Rahal could very well field a Honda entry in the LMP2 class of ALMS to compete with Penske's Porsche entry. Honda has not yet announced they are going to enter ALMS, but that is what our sources have been saying for quite some time. Supposedly Honda's LMP2 engine will be a derivative of their IRL engine.
08/02/05 16-year old Graham Rahal was up at Portland this past weekend, driving in the Star Mazda Series race. He told the Statesman Journal newspaper when asked about rumors of a possible Rahal entry in the ALMS, "I can say that's a very strong rumor because my dad has always had a passion for sports cars. We're working on it. We'll be there."
We might see Rahal run a Porsche in 2007, or possible a Honda entry if the rumors of Honda going to ALMS are true.
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