While having got off to a challenging start at Sebring, Starworks Motorsport’s Honda-powered Riley DP is poised to return to TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition by as early as the Road America round in August.
Development of the new-for-2014 package, based around HPD’s 3.5-liter V6 turbo, continues in what’s turned into a joint project between the California-based manufacturer and chassis/bodywork constructor Riley Technologies, according to team owner Peter Baron.
“Honda and HPD are plugging away; Everybody is putting their undivided resources on it,” Baron told Sportscar365. “Unfortunately one of the things that is delaying it a little bit is the Month of May for HPD. With two races at Indy, it’s obviously a big aero event for them and takes up a lot of their aerodynamic resources.”
Cooling issues prevented the No. 78 entry from showing its full potential at Sebring. The majority of the development has centered on adapting the HPD’s highly successful production-based powerplant to the the Riley chassis and bodywork package.
It will include modifications to the generic-style Riley bodywork, in order to improve airflow to the engine. While one of the initial options was for HPD to take the majority of the development in-house, Baron said the car has been at Riley’s shop in Mooresville, N.C. undergoing updates.
“Bob and Bill Riley have been doing a lot,” Baron said. “They’ve been using the car for building parts, like radiators and intercoolers and re-doing the plumbing routing and wire harnesses. They’re looking at everything and have done a lot of the initial work.
“They’re now sending [that information] to HPD, which will verify the CFD work and run everything through their models.”
While a return for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen was initially planned, Baron is now targeting the Road America round in August instead, with a continued commitment towards a full-season program with the package next year.
“I have all confidence in running a DP next year,” he said. “It’s just [a challenge] of getting it out this year. I think everybody would look at this year and say, ‘OK, maybe running a DP was an OK thing to do.’
“I think by the end of the year, everything’s going to work out pretty nicely. It shouldn’t be too hard to work on DP programs for next year.”