The HPD ARX-04b will make its return to the track later this month, as Honda Performance Development confirmed Wednesday the car’s appearance at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb June 27-28.
Justin Wilson, who was meant to race the Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 for Michael Shank Racing at Sebring and has also been aligned with the manufacturer in its IndyCar program, will drive the car.
The ARX-04b will be the first full-carbon monocoque vehicle ever sanctioned for PPIHC entry and will be fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine.
The ARX-04b will compete in the Unlimited class, which features highly-modified cars that can navigate the 156 turns of the 12.42-mile course in under 10 minutes.
“This is an exploratory effort, to learn as much as we can in advance of a possible future assault on the outright record [8:13.878, set by Sebastien Loeb in 2013],” said Art St. Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development.
“We want to see how well our ARX-04b chassis adapts to the rigors of the Climb, and the high-altitude demands placed on our production-based V6 engine.”
The LMP2-spec car, fielded by Tequila Patron ESM at Daytona this year before it was shelved for further development purposes, is the latest diverse entry Honda will run at Pikes Peak. Two years ago, Simon Pagenaud ran a Honda Odyssey mini van at the event.
“The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has always been an interesting project for many Honda divisions,” St. Cyr said. “The diversity of classes and very open nature of the rulebook continues to be very appealing to Honda and the passions of its associates.
“We’re looking forward to this. We hope to have a lot of fun, and we’re certainly not holding back with Justin Wilson behind the wheel. We think the fans will enjoy the show, as well.”
Wilson adds Pikes Peak to a year that has included Sebring, two IndyCar starts and an FIA Formula E race appearance in Moscow.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun driving the Honda ARX-04b up the hill and giving it everything I’ve got,” Wilson said.
“This is my first time competing at Pikes Peak and I’m really looking forward to the experience. I’ve run with Honda at the Indy GP and the ‘500’ this year, and also have run Formula E and at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
“But this will be every bit as difficult as any of them. I’m looking forward to the challenge and working with everyone at Honda.”