Despite not being one of the four approved LMP2 constructors for 2017, Honda Performance Development hasn’t given up on its new-for-2015 prototype, with further testing and development planned for the ARX-04b.
The California-based manufacturer, which was unable to submit a 2017 tender due to its OEM affiliation, is exploring the possibility of getting the LMP2 coupe back into the hands of customer teams for next year.
“The next step in the process is to make sure the issues we saw in the medium downforce spec have been corrected and it’s achieving the performance targets we’ve set for it,” HPD Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Eriksen told Sportscar365.
The Wirth Research-designed car, which debuted at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the hands of Tequila Patron ESM, hasn’t raced since, although it came close to mounting an attack on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June.
Eriksen said they’re working on aero-related updates to the car, in anticipation of conducting wind tunnel and track testing by a yet-to-be-determined team in November.
“The first step is to go back into the wind tunnel, check that everything matches from what we’ve predicted from the simulation, then go out and verify that on track,” he said.
“Then we’ll decide what we’re doing from there.”
With current-generation P2 cars eligible in the TUDOR Championship, FIA WEC, and ELMS for at least one more season, as well as being legal in the Asian Le Mans Series through the 2018/2019 season, Eriksen feels there’s still an opportunity to showcase the potential of the ARX-04b.
“If there’s a team interested, it’s really down to them,” he said. “The first step is to prove to ourselves that it’s meeting the performance targets and once it does we can go out and say we have on-track data, wind tunnel data and see if they’re interested.”
Eriksen said a decision has not yet been made on which team will run the car in its end-of-year on-track tests but said ESM is one of the options, should it fit into their schedule.
Both of the ARX-04b cars currently remain at the Florida-based team’s shop.