Sportscar365 is recognizing its top performers and key events from the 2020 racing season. Up next is the manufacturer of the year, as selected by website staff.
Manufacturer of the Year – Honda/Acura
Between its operations in Japan and North America as Acura, Honda won sports car racing titles with Class One, GT3 and prototype machinery this year.
In the U.S, Honda Performance Development continued to be a formidable regional force as Team Penske – with the Oreca-based Acura ARX-05 – and Meyer Shank Racing with the Acura NSX GT3 Evo successfully defended their IMSA DPi and GT Daytona titles.
Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves were the class of the top prototype formula, while Mario Farnbacher and his new full-season co-driver Matt McMurry rounded off MSR’s four-year GTD involvement before it replaces Penske in the DPi ranks next year.
A third American title was added by Racers Edge Motorsports, which triumphed in GT World Challenge America powered by AWS with Shelby Blackstock and Farnbacher’s former IMSA teammate Trent Hindman.
In Japan, Honda bounced back from an underwhelming 2019 season to regain the Super GT crown through Team Kunimitsu’s Naoki Yamamoto and Tadasuke Makino.
The GT500 category’s adoption of Class One regulations for this year prompted Honda to move the engine of its NSX-GT in front of the driver, but the engineering strain was worth the effort as the car won half of the season’s races, more than Nissan and Toyota.
Back on the GT3 side, Honda completed its first full season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli with a single car run by Italian build partner JAS Motorsport.
Farnbacher, Dane Cameron and Renger van der Zande claimed a podium in the Indianapolis 8 Hour, while a top-ten finish at a grueling Total 24 Hours of Spa presented an opportunity to capture the drivers’ championship at the Kyalami nine-hour race.
After controlling the first eight hours of the season finale, a late thunderstorm cruelly wrecked van der Zande and Farnbacher’s title chances. But the NSX GT3 Evo’s faultless performance up to that point had been registered nonetheless.
A global prize would have been the cherry to top what remains an impressive set of regional successes chalked up by Honda’s teams this year.
***This year Toyota became the third LMP1 manufacturer to take three consecutive Le Mans wins in the event’s FIA World Endurance Championship era. The company also successfully rolled out its new Super GT weapon, the GR Supra, which claimed two victories including an emphatic sweep of the top-five positions at round one. And, despite the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on international logistics, Toyota successfully debuted the new Supra GT4 car, which registered a positive maiden campaign.
***The results of Aston Martin‘s factory GT team in its final season headlined the British marque’s achievements in 2020, with big victories in the WEC and at Le Mans. But its customer racing efforts have also been notable, particularly in GT4 where the Vantage model has proven popular. North America has been an important region, with several teams there switching brand allegiances to Aston. This trend led to ex-Ford Mustang squad KohR Motorsports winning the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS title.
***Several GT racing trophies went to BMW teams this year. Munich’s major victories with the BMW M6 GT3 included the Nürburgring 24 through ROWE Racing, as well as the Indianapolis 8 Hour and Kyalami 9 Hour with Walkenhorst Motorsport. It was also the top GT3 manufacturer in the NLS, courtesy of strong performances from both teams. In GTE, the BMW M8 won the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the second time en route to Team RLL securing the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup title.
***The LMP2 market continues to be dominated by ORECA which produced the chassis of choice 80 percent of the category’s teams on the Le Mans grid. The French constructor’s 07 chassis swept the WEC, ELMS, Asian LMS and IMSA LMP2 classes, whilst also providing the base for the DPi-winning Acura. Additionally, ORECA’s LMP1 car won the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas with Rebellion Racing.