As Honda-powered teams and drivers head into the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500-mile race, they do so with the depth and experience of teams and drivers who have conquered racing's most prestigious and unpredictable event.
Four of Honda's seven teams have won the prestigious Memorial Day classic. Target Chip Ganassi Racing owns three '500' victories, in 2000, 2008 and 2010. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing brought Honda its first Indy 500 victory in 2004. A.J. Foyt has recorded three Indianapolis 500 victories as a team owner, in 1967, '77, and '99; while Bryan Herta Autosport won the Centennial Indianapolis 500 in 2011 with the late Dan Wheldon.
Honda's stable of drivers includes Indy 500 champions Dario Franchitti (2007 and 2010) and Scott Dixon (2008), who between them have won the last five IZOD IndyCar Series drivers' championships.
"Many times, victory at the Indy 500 depends on a bit of good luck," says Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of American Honda Motor Company, Inc. "However, the Indy 500 demands that teams and drivers have a certain level of experience and depth in order to contend for a victory. We are extremely confident in being able to call upon this level of strength in our garages."
Founded in 1993, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines, and operates at race circuits around the world from its headquarters in Santa Clarita, California.
Honda has been a fixture in North American open-wheel racing since 1994, and has played an active role in the growth of the IZOD IndyCar Series – as both a Manufacturers' Championship competitor and single engine supplier – since joining the series in 2003.
The company scored its first Indianapolis 500 victory in 2004 with Buddy Rice; Manufacturers' Championships in 2004 and '05; and became engine supplier to the entire IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006. The 2010 Indianapolis 500, won by Dario Franchitti, marked Honda's 100th race win as a manufacturer and engine supplier in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.
In addition to its efforts in Indy car racing, HPD spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009-2010 American Le Mans Series, 2010 Le Mans Series and the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. HPD offers a line of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; and showcases "fun" products for professional, amateur and entry-level efforts.