American Honda and its Honda Performance Development (HPD) subsidiary will power all IZOD IndyCar Series entries fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing as manufacturer competition returns to the series in 2012, officials with both HPD and the team announced today.
Under terms of the multiyear agreement, the Ganassi organization will be Honda’s “anchor” team, as set forth in the regulations for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, and HPD will provide its new, turbocharged 2.2-liter V-6 engines to the Ganassi open-wheel operation.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with a team the caliber of Chip Ganassi Racing as an exciting new era of IndyCar competition dawns in 2012,” said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development and vice president, product planning, for American Honda.
“As many of you will recall, the Ganassi organization was one of our partners when Honda won its first Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) Manufacturers’ Championship in 1996; and a Ganassi driver, Jimmy Vasser, won our first CART drivers’ title. Since then, multiple race victories and series championships have followed in both CART and IndyCar Series competition. This is a trend we plan to continue in 2012!”
Designed at HPD’s Santa Clarita, California, facility, the all-new Indy V-6 engine is now under development, with initial track testing scheduled to start in August. As Honda’s anchor team in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Chip Ganassi Racing will assume primary responsibility for track testing of the newly developed power plant.
“We are thrilled to be able to announce this deal,” said Chip Ganassi, Owner of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. “We have had a lot of success over the years with Honda as a partner and we felt strongly that keeping that continuity was important. We look for continued success with such a integral partner.”
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.
Honda has supplied racing engines to the full 33-car Indianapolis 500 field every year since 2006, and for a record five consecutive years, there has not been a single engine failure in the '500'.
Last year’s Indianapolis 500, won by Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti, marked Honda's 100th race win as a manufacturer and engine supplier in IZOD IndyCar Series competition. The 2011 Centennial Indianapolis 500 will mark the sixth consecutive year that the full 33-car starting field has utilized Honda Indy V-8 engines.
In all, Honda and Target Chip Ganassi Racing have collaborated to win seven open-wheel driving championships, by Vasser (1996, CART), Alex Zanardi (1997 and ’98, CART), Juan Montoya (1999, CART), Scott Dixon (2008, INDYCAR) and Franchitti (2009 and ’10, INDYCAR). The Honda/Ganassi partnership has also resulted in 63 race victories since 1996 – 34 in INDYCAR competition and 29 in CART.
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 high-performance Honda racing cars and engines.
In addition to its efforts in IndyCar 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 continues to be involved in prototype sports-car racing in both Europe and North America. The company also has an active involvement in a wide range of motorsports, including karting; Formula F open-wheel racing; amateur and entry-level professional road racing; import drag racing; and off-road racing.
Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with sponsor, Target. Today, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams includes four entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series, two in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Daytona Prototype in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Cars Series. Overall his teams have 12 championships and nearly 140 victories, including three Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and four Rolex 24 At Daytonas. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Ind. and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.