Honda Performance Development’s ARX-04b is set for a return to the track, with the manufacturer scheduled to begin testing the revised LMP2 car next month with Michael Shank Racing.
HPD VP and COO Steve Eriksen confirmed to Sportscar365 plans for a test at Sebring in early April, which will see the Wirth Research-designed prototype debut an updated aero package.
Tequila Patron ESM debuted the car in its one-and-only race in last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, and outside of a test shortly after that race and an attempt at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the pair of 04bs have sat idle awaiting further developments.
“Mike Shank is going to help us out,” Eriksen told Sportscar365. “We’re excited about getting it on track and putting it through its paces, just to get some read on it in the real world on track.”
Eriksen said he anticipates Ozz Negri handling testing duties of the car, which will also feature HPD’s enlarged 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that claimed overall victory at Daytona in January.
The focus of the test, Eriksen said, will be to validate the updated aero, as HPD continues its push to find customers to race the cars in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
A deal for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports to run one of the 04bs this season fell through at the last minute, while Shank is already committed to its existing Ligier JS P2 Honda platform for this year.
“We keep talking to folks to see if there’s a good solution,” Eriksen said.
“To me, the ideal thing would be somebody that’s not quite ready to buy the new 2017-spec car, maybe they want to stand back and see how the dust settles, and which constructors have done the best job.
“Our car is legal for 2017. We’re trying to find a good option that works for a team and works for us.”
Eriksen hasn’t ruled out seeing the car on the WeatherTech Championship grid this year, should a deal come together.
“It’s possible,” he said. “We have everything in place to be able to do that.
“It’s just finding somebody that’s got the operational budget to run it because we’re not going to fully fund the car. That’s not in our financial reality.”