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HPD Prepping for 2017 LMP2 Constructor Bid

HPD to submit bid to become 2017 LMP2 chassis constructor…

Photo: Honda Racing

Photo: Honda Racing

While the regulations have yet to be fully defined, Honda Performance Development is preparing its bid in hopes of becoming one of the approved chassis constructors in the new-for-2017 LMP2 regulations.

The California-based manufacturer, which is targeting the re-entry of its ARX-04b coupe later this year in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, is optimistic of remaining in the LMP2 ranks for the long-term.

“We’ve told IMSA that we’re throwing our hat into the ring,” HPD Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Eriksen told Sportscar365. “We had a very good discussion with them at Sebring.

“One of the things that’s very important to them is customer service. They gave some examples where some of the teams experienced perhaps not the level of customer service they would like to see.

“They know our very positive reputation for customer service. I believe they would very much like to have us be one of the constructors who supports the series.”

The ACO, FIA and IMSA have laid out parameters for the new regulations, including a limitation of what’s believed to be four chassis constructors, with at least one being based in North America.

Eriksen said discussions with IMSA continued last weekend at Long Beach, and he supports their move to embrace multiple engine manufacturers and bodywork with manufacturer styling cues.

“The direction from the TUDOR Championship is that they want to have some identity to it, so [you can see] that’s a Corvette or that’s an Acura NSX or whatever,” Eriksen said. “We’re very strongly in support of that.

“If we’re going to go through that process of having a shape that’s car-like, then there’s some additional steps involved because you have to go through the styling department of R&D.”

The HPD ARX-04b, which made its debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, features a LMP1-compliant tub and despite being built to the 2000 mm width, Eriksen said it can accommodate the 2017 proposed 1900 mm width with a change in wheel offsets.

However, he stressed the importance of confirming the selection of the chassis constructors sooner rather than later, in order to be fully prepared for the 2017 season.

“The key thing for us is getting the rules finalized quickly,” Eriksen said. “If they wait and wait, it’s going to jeopardize the success. We all want it to be a success.

“Our feedback to them is that you gotta get the rules out quickly and you’ve gotta get the answer on who’s a constructor out quickly so we can all get on with it.

“We’ve heard some targets from the meeting at Paul Ricard that they’ll let everyone know by September. That’s not going to work. You need the lede time to do the proper track testing.

“When looking at the schedule, we really need the stuff nailed down by June 1. We’re hoping they can meet that timing and are trying to drive that home from as many angles as possible.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Chris

    April 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Re-entry? Are they planning on a few more races besides just the NAEC rounds?

    • John Dagys

      April 21, 2015 at 11:27 am

      The 04b has been withdrawn from competition until further development is made to the car. Currently, there are no HPD chassis entered for the remaining NAEC rounds.

      • Brandon

        April 21, 2015 at 11:32 am

        John, have you heard any talk of expansion to more than 4 constructors? Is there any chance in the future that IMSA would allow more?

        • John Dagys

          April 21, 2015 at 2:32 pm

          I have not heard anything on either. Although the ACO’s recent release didn’t confirm 4, so I’d have to guess it’s currently open to discussion.

    • Bakkster

      April 21, 2015 at 11:28 am

      ESM has ditched the ARX-04b for a Ligier chassis. HPD is looking for a team to run a development program on the chassis in TUSC so they can homologate a fully functional car with the ACO next season.

      That team might be ESM (they have time post-Le Mans) or it might be someone else.

  2. Christian

    April 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

    This 4 chassis constructor thing just freaking blows, dude.

    • Matt

      April 21, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Stupidest idea ever. If they wanna run, let em run!!!

    • Slow

      April 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      More competition equals more efficiency developing and producing the product and leads to a better car. Everything they’re doing right now flys in the face of business economics 101, as far as consumer well being goes. It is great for producer well being though.

      • Fabio

        April 22, 2015 at 7:40 am

        More competition also equals escalating costs, which is exactly what they’re trying to avoid. Besides, we have all the competition we want today, and over 80% of the LMP2 chassis racing at the moment are from 2 manufacturers (Oreca and Onroak), so is 4 really that bad ? Or than 5 maybe ?

        • Slow

          April 22, 2015 at 1:42 pm

          It’s been proven that more competition within a market drives down price. There are books and books on this…. Besides that they already have an artificial price ceiling in place. Yes it is…. Like I said this is Micro economics 101, more competition forces bigger firms to stream line their process and make them more efficient with less excess waste. The whole reason they are putting this limit in is because the two firms you mentioned are in a panic because there defacto bread basket is being picked. They know they can’t keep doing business the way they’re currently doing it so they’re forcing these changes on everyone else so they don’t have to restructure.

          The only reason either of those are even successful now is because they have been updating cars built and designed by other companies years ago. We are only just seeing what they can truely make in house right now.

          Choice within thee market is vital for consumer protection, limiting that number will simply degrade the value of the product that is delivered by these companies.

          Hell look at zytek/gibson they are most likely out and they’ve been making very competitive cars for years, along with them go Dome and probably Wirth. All of which have been successful in their on right over the years. Not to mention we are just now coming out of a global recession that has severely limited the buying power of a lot of teams.

          The only people that want this are either miss informed or have an inside deal with a company it benefits.

    • Kirk

      April 21, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Do we know the TUSC will abide by the same four chassis limitation as the ACO? The TUSC is it’s own series and needs to do whatever it takes to survive.

      • Bakkster

        April 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm

        Yes, Atherton confirmed they would.

  3. Brent

    April 21, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Assuming HPD is confirmed what is their take on placing a non Honda engine in the car in the WEC? Or is this a case of HPD only providing a car to TUSCC teams since it would be coupled with a Honda engine?

    • JB

      April 21, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      If they want to get the 4th seat then they will have no choice but to build the car so all P2 engines will work.FIA P2 spec will allow for the car to be renamed so it is likely the HPD would be dropped anyway.

    • Fabio

      April 22, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Even if IMSA allows for different engines (they will) and ACO goes with a single engine formula (they will too), it won’t be a Honda. It’ll be a Nissan.
      So if most of the US teams race Chevy/Ford/Honda, they still won’t be able to race at LeMans, just like with DPs today.
      Remind me again what’s the point of this worldwide P2 formula…

  4. powderedtoast

    April 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Best of luck to HPD. They are a world class operation.

  5. Cf

    April 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Teams Money on LMP2 Pick 2017:

    Action Express 5, 31: Coyote LMP2
    Wayne Tylor Racing 10: Nissan 05 Oreca
    Extremespeed Motorsport 1, 2: HPD ARX-04b
    DeltaWing Racing Cars 0: DeltaWing DWC13 or DeltaWing ZEOD RC
    Chip Ganassi Racing 01, 02: Ligier JS P2
    Michael Shank Racing 60: Ligier JS P2
    VisitFlorida.com Racing 90: Nissan 05 Oreca
    Krohn Racing 57: Ligier JS P2
    Mazda SpeedSource Race Engineering 70, 07: Lotus T128 or Lola B12/80 or Lola B08/80
    Starworks Motorsport 7: HPD ARX-04b
    Highway to Help 50: HPD ARX-04b
    RG Racing 66: HPD ARX-04b

    • Me

      April 21, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    • The Royal Baccarat Scandal

      April 22, 2015 at 11:17 am

      Are you on acid, dude?

  6. N8

    April 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Maybe I’m confused about the proposed chassis regulation. I thought we were talking about a common spec. The quote about narrowing the ARX-04b by changing the wheel offsets seems to indicate that the FIA will instead “nominate” a group of chassis as 2017 compliant. Is that right? Certainly, it wouldn’t matter what the current car’s width was if you were building to a new spec.

    • Bakkster

      April 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      It’s a new specification, common to IMSA and ACO series (with a few optional extras for IMSA). Presumably the chassis rules are close enough that a current car can be modified to run the new rules.

      And yes, the ACO is limiting the number of chassis constructors to 4, if the ACO doesn’t give a manufacturer its blessing, it doesn’t get to run.

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