Scott Dixon’s triumph Sunday at Pocono Raceway was a milestone event for American Honda and its Honda Performance Development racing arm: the 200th Indy car race win for the manufacturer since entering the sport in 1994.
“I’d like to congratulate all of our associates at HPD, who have worked incredibly hard and made personal sacrifices to make the success of our racing programs their top priority,” said Art St.Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development. “This is a milestone event for HPD and the Honda Indy car racing program. It’s also a tribute to American Honda’s long-term commitment to the sport of Indy car racing, and our desire to see it grow and prosper.”
“I’d also like to thank Honda R&D for the continued assistance and support throughout our CART and IRL racing programs, and our technical partners at Ilmor for their contributions to our IRL program.”
Honda’s Indy car racing debut was inauspicious: an eighth-place run in Surfers Paradise, Australia in March 1994. But the company’s North American open-wheel racing heritage beganthat day, including nine seasons of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) competition; and another 11to date in the Indy Racing League and INDYCAR. All of them leading to Honda’s 200th Indy car win by Dixon Sunday at Pocono Raceway, highlighting a 1-2-3 sweep for Honda and Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Honda’s first Indy car win, byAndre Ribeiro at New Hampshire International Speedway, didn’t come until August 20, 1995 –almost 18 months after that Surfers Paradise debut. It was the first of 65 CART race victories, resulting in four manufacturers’ championships between 1996 and 2002, and six consecutive drivers’ titles. “Thinking back to 1995, when we won our first race after two years of testing, development and racing – and knowing the effort and hardship that went into achieving that milestone – it seems incredible that we’ve already reached our 200th win,” said Steve Eriksen, Vice President of Honda Performance Development (HPD), who was present for both landmark events.“At the time of that first win, 200 wins would have seemed like a pure fantasy to us, not to mention all the titles, and additional racing programs that have followed.”
“Thinking back to 1995, when we won our first race after two years of testing, development and racing – and knowing the effort and hardship that went into achieving that milestone – it seems incredible that we’ve already reached our 200th win,” said Steve Eriksen, Vice President of Honda Performance Development (HPD), who was present for both landmark events.
“At the time of that first win, 200 wins would have seemed like a pure fantasy to us, not to mention all the titles, and additional racing programs that have followed.”
Indy car win Number 10 came less than a year later, as Ribeiro posted his third career CART win at Michigan International Speedway. The 25th victory was a thrilling come-from-behind effort by eventual two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi at Cleveland in 1998; while the 50thwin, in 2000 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, also marked the arrival of future three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.
Honda moved to the Indy Racing League in 2003, and the winning continued. Honda’s most successful driver, Dario Franchitti– with 31 wins to date – scored the company’s 75th open-wheel race win at The Milwaukee Mile in 2004.
Team Penske’s Sam Hornish Jr. posted Honda’s landmark 100th Indy car win at Richmond International Raceway in 2006, as Honda embarked on a six-year run as single engine supplier in Indy car competition following consecutive IRL manufacturers’ championships in 2004-05. Victory number 150 came at Watkins Glen International Raceway with Justin Wilson, and was additionally significant as the first win for the Dale Coyne Racing team.
Prior to Pocono, Honda’s win at Detroitmarked another first in Indy car for both driver Simon Pagenaud and his Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports team. It was Honda’s 199th Indy car race win, and the 100th with manufacturer competition.
Founded in 1993, HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines and operates at race circuits around the world from its headquarters in Santa Clarita, California.
The company scored its first of nine consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories in 2004 with Buddy Rice; and became engine supplier to the entire IZOD IndyCar Series in 2006. Honda supplied racing engines to the full, 33-car Indianapolis 500 field every year from 2006-2011, and for a record-six consecutive years, the ‘500’ ran without a single engine failure.
In addition to its efforts in Indy car racing, HPD spearheaded championship-winning efforts in the 2009, 2010 and 2012 American Le Mans Series; 2010 Le Mans Series; and triumphed in the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2010 and 2012. HPD offers a line of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; and showcases “fun-to-drive” products for professional, amateur and entry-level efforts.