Honda DP Engine Poised for Sebring Debut

Photo: Darren Pierson

Photo: Darren Pierson

After having been quietly developed for months behind the scenes, Honda’s new DP engine is soon set to be unleashed to the public as the latest offering for the Prototype class.

Sportscar365 has learned that a 3.5-liter V6 turbo, a variant of HPD’s ALMS and FIA WEC championship-winning LMP2 powerplant, will begin on-track testing in the next few weeks, with the intentions of making its race debut at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.

“We were hopeful to have it for Daytona but we understand why IMSA made the decision they did,” HPD technical director Roger Griffiths told Sportscar365. “We were unable to make the Roar test and it would have been unfair to other manufacturers just to show up here with no performance balancing.

“They needed to see the car run [to balance it]. We had hoped to shake it down before Christmas and that wasn’t the case.”

The California-based manufacturer has been working closely with an existing team, believed to be Starworks Motorsport, on the installation of the first engine. When asked to confirm, team owner Peter Baron declined comment.

Starworks won the 2012 FIA WEC LMP2 title with a HPD ARX-03b car but has since focused exclusively on DP and Prototype Challenge machinery in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. It fielded a Dinan-powered Riley DP at Daytona, which retired with engine failure caused by a seized oil pump.

“We have to rely on the support of an existing team to provide a car and help us with the engine integration,” Griffiths explained. “So we’ll work with them on that aspect. There’s no plan to have bespoke Honda bodywork. As much as we’d like to do it, those kind of decisions are not made at HPD’s level.”

While plans are being put into place on the team side, Griffiths said they are nearing final approval from IMSA.

Griffiths is hopeful of providing additional customers with DP power plants at some point in the future and sees this as a new avenue for the versatile engine, which has been used in the Baja 1000, Pikes Peak Hill Climb as well as Super GT300 competition, among others. In DP form, the J35 engine returns to its stock displacement of 3.5 liters.

“The market is there,” Griffiths said. “People have come to us and said, ‘Has Honda got an interest in doing that?’ We obviously have a fairly refined package with the V6 turbo engine. It is highly configurable. There are variety of different versions of that engine out there racing. It’s not too hard to create a new package.”

8 Comments

  1. Autolegend86

    January 31, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Is this based off the HR28TT

    • Autolegend86

      January 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      opps reread nvm.

  2. Jason

    January 31, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Last new DP engine maybe? Since Daytona Prototypes will see the graveyard as far as TUSK is concerned after 2016?

    • Patrick

      February 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

      If the new IMSA P car is scheduled for 2017 then expect the DP’s to be grandfathered in for at least that year. So they will still be around for another 4 years. A lot can happen in 4 years.

      • Bakkster

        February 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm

        I think if anyone gets grandfathered, it would be current P2s. The DPs are just so difficult to BoP.

        • mimi69

          February 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm

          Dual element wing, a little more HP and better brakes and they kicked the ass out of the P2 at Daytona. Not that hard to BoP.

  3. Lanky Turtle

    February 1, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Still waiting on that Ferrari DP engine from Scott Tucker.

    • jack

      February 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      ferrari dp engine? i heard rumors about a p2 engine but not dp

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