Honda Racing–Sahlen’s Six Hours of the GlenRace

HPD Racing ReportSunday, June 29, 2014

ReportCircuit:Watkins Glen International Raceway (3.77-mile road course), Watkins Glen, NY

2013 winners:Joao Barbosa / Christian Fittipaldi (Action Express Corvette DP)

Weather:Mostly sunny, mild, 75 degrees

Mechanical Issues Hamper HPD Efforts at Watkins Glen

• Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b’s persevere to finish 10th and 11th

• Team led Friday practice, Sunday warm-up times

Although Extreme Speed Motorsports paced a large prototype field in both Friday practice and the race morning warm-up sessions for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, a variety of issues combined to hamper the efforts of the team’s HPD ARX-03b Hondas in the six-hour endurance contest Sunday at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York.

Contact with a slower GTD entry at the end of the first hour forced an unscheduled pit stop for the #1 HPD ARX-03b Honda, where the Extreme Speed team found damage to the car’s downforce-generating underbody and left rear brake duct.

Although the team was able to repair some of the damage, starting driver Scott Sharp returned to the race a lap down to the leaders, with the damage continuing to affect both handling and tire wear.  Although the #1 car recovered to run as high as fifth in class with co-driver Ryan Dalziel, additional penalties for pit lane speeding and a late-race gear selection problem – which also may have resulted from the early-race contact – dropped the #1 car to a 10th place finish in the prototype category.

The #2 HPD ran 10th in the opening stint with Ed Brown driving, but was also penalized for speeding in the pit lane when Brown prepared to turn the car over to co-driver Johannes van Overbeek. Later, the car lost additional time for repairs after halting on track with an electrical failure.  After returning to the race, third driver Anthony Lazzaro, van Overbeek and Brown combined to bring the #2 car home 11th in the prototype class.

The HPD-developed Honda engines used in the TUDOR championship are derived from the Honda “J35” series of production V6 engines and include relevant twin-turbocharger technology, along with the efficiency provided by direct fuel injection. Key production-based components that are utilized include block and heads, crankshaft, direct injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire throttle, alternator, sensors, fasteners, etc. The engine even utilizes a stock Honda oil filter.

Allen Miller (Project Leader, Sports Cars, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race:”It was a difficult day.  While our practice and qualifying lap times are quite good, keeping pace with the Daytona Prototype-spec cars in race conditions is difficult, at best.  The LMP2-spec cars need to have a perfect day to have a chance at a good finish, and unfortunately, both of the Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b’s encountered issues today.  The #2 Brown/Lazzaro/van Overbeek HPD suffered from an electrical problem and stopped on track early in the race.  After diagnosing the problem and affecting repairs, the team returned the car to the track and it finished the race.  The #1 Dalziel/Sharp HPD started well, but contact with a GTD car damaged the left side floor, and both lap times and the team’s pit strategy suffered as a result.  Late in the race, the car also needed transmission repairs, but again the ESM crew did an excellent job of making repairs and returning the car to the race.  We’ll examine the issues that occurred today, take steps to prevent them happening again in the future, and be ready to race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in two weeks.”

Scott Sharp (#1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda): “This was definitely not the race we wanted at Watkins Glen. There was a little bit of shuffling around at the beginning, but that’s to be expected.  We were running well and improving lap times until the GTD car hit me. The team did a great job fixing what we were able to fix, but unfortunately,it hurt us for the rest of the race.  As a result of the contact, we lost the left rear brake duct. The left rear brake was getting hot, heating up the tire, heating up the rim and we were really hard on the left rear tire.  That meant we had to change tires at each stop, when the tires should have been good for at least two or three stints on our car. A lot of our pit strategy went out the window at that point. We lost a lot of performance on the back left side of the car and we really struggled in the fast corners. It was one of those things that lead to another and it all just snowballs.  It is a shame that both cars had issues today, because this was a race where we thought we could challenge for the win. It was a great effort by the entire ESM/Tequila Patrón team. We did everything we could to compete here, but it just wasn’t our day.