Honda Performance Development (HPD), a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., will become the single provider of engines in 2006 for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, HPD President Robert Clarke announced today.
Honda joined the IRL at the start of the 2003 season, and earlier this year announced a new plan to continue as an engine supplier in IndyCar racing through the 2009 season. With the recent announcement of Toyota's withdrawal from IRL competition, HPD will prepare and maintain the Honda Indy V-8 engines used by all teams for competition in the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
"Providing engines for the entire IndyCar field is a dramatically different role for Honda from that as one competitor in a multi-manufacturer championship," Clarke said. "It is an opportunity that provides numerous new challenges, not only for HPD, but for several departments at American Honda as well.
"Certainly, manufacturing and preparing sufficient primary and backup engines for all 33 starters at the Indianapolis 500 will be a major effort," Clarke added, "and it is vitally important, given our new circumstances, that we treat and care for all IndyCar competitors equally. We are confident of meeting this need and look forward to working with the IRL to grow the IndyCar Series in the seasons to come." To assist in supplying engines to the full IndyCar field, HPD is continuing its technical partnership with Ilmor Engineering of Plymouth, Mich.
"Since 2000, we have offered some of the most competitive racing in the world under an exclusive tire arrangement with Firestone, and taking our engine program to the same 'exclusive' format we believe will take IndyCar Series racing to an entirely new level of competition beginning in 2006," said Brian Barnhart, president and chief operating officer of the IRL. "We appreciate the enthusiasm shown and work done by Honda to ensure having the ability to supply the entire IndyCar Series field. Robert Clarke and everyone at HPD have been true partners during this process."
In three years of IndyCar competition, Honda drivers and teams have compiled an unmatched record of achievement. They include IRL Manufacturers' Championships for Honda in 2004 and 2005; a pair of Indianapolis 500 triumphs (Buddy Rice in 2004 and Dan Wheldon in 2005); two Drivers' Championships (Tony Kanaan in 2004 and Wheldon in 2005); three Rookie of the Year awards (Wheldon in 2003, Kosuke Matsuura in 2004 and Danica Patrick in 2005); and a total of 27 IndyCar Series race victories.