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.”