HPD Teams Finish 1-2 in LMS P2 Championship
Strakka Claims Third Win of 2010, RML Secures P2 Title
A come-from-behind charge in the second half of Sunday’s Autosport 1000 Kilometers of Silverstone saw Strakka Racing claim its third Le Mans Series P2 prototype victory from five starts in its HPD ARX-01c, while RML locked down the LMP2 championship with a fourth-place finish in its HPD-engined Lola.
These two partner teams of Honda Performance Development scored a total of four LMS LMP2 wins - including an overall victory at the Hungaroring - to finish 1-2 in the series championship. It was an outstanding result for both the teams and HPD, in its first year of European-based LMS competition.
“This has been an outstanding first season for HPD in the Le Mans Series, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the efforts of both RML and Strakka this year,” said Stephen Eriksen, HPD assistant vice president. “Combined with our success at Le Mans, it’s been an incredible season, the first of many we hope to have in the LMS. A special thanks to our teams, HPD associates, and our friends at Wirth Research. We could not have achieved such success without such fantastic partners.”
Strakka 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.
In Sunday’s race at Silverstone, the Strakka HPD started from the class pole, the sixth pole for HPD in six events this year, and moved into a commanding early lead with Jonny Kane at the wheel. But a mid-race collision with a slower GT2 car sent the HPD, with Nick Leventis now driving, to the pits for repairs. Returning to the track in fourth place, Leventis climbed back up the leader board to return the HPD to the lead lap and second place, then handed driving duties over to Danny Watts for the final stint.
Watts caught and passed the Quifel - ASM Zytek of Oliver Pla with 31 laps remaining to secure the victory for Strakka and HPD. The victory secured second for Strakka in the final championship points standings.
“My stint required some catching up, so I had to get my head down,” Watts said. “So, I concentrated on reeling off the laps as quickly as possible without making mistakes. Jonny [Kane] had already told me the car was really good, and that gave me the confidence I needed to push.”
A fourth-place result from the RML trio of Tommy Erdos, Mike Newton and Ben Collins in their Lola B08/80 HPD was more than enough for the team to claim the LMS P2 championship, by a six-point margin over Strakka,
Next month, Patrón Highcroft Racing heads into the American Le Mans Series finale, the October 2 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, leading both the ALMS team and drivers’ championships, with three LMP wins and four additional podium finishes in its HPD ARX-01c.. HPD holds a 16-point lead over Porsche in the Engine Manufacturers’ Championship, and a nine-point lead over Lola in the Chassis Manufacturers’ Championship.
Next season, HPD will offer a new LMP2 engine to customers participating in the 2011 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).
Since 2007, HPD has provided engines to prototype-class teams in the American Le Mans Series, and these engines have scored numerous victories, beginning with an LMP2 class win in HPD’s inaugural ALMS race at Sebring in 2007. HPD was the first manufacturer to score ALMS class wins in both LMP1 and LMP2 on the same weekend with its wins at St. Petersburg in 2009.
HPD went on to win LMP1 and LMP2 Manufacturers’ Championships for Acura in 2009 - becoming the first ALMS manufacturer to do so - and this year began providing engines and support for sports-car competition in both America and Europe.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America. Founded in 1993, and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for American Honda high-performance racing cars and engines. In addition to its role as single engine supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series, HPD is active in a variety of motorsports activities from pinnacle through grassroots, including this year’s class win in its inaugural attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
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