Honda To Again Join Chevy As IndyCar Engine Suppliers

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, February 3 2016
INDYCAR engine supplier Honda will remain with the series. (INDYCAR/LAT USA file photo)

INDYCAR engine supplier Honda will remain with the series. (INDYCAR/LAT USA file photo)

INDYCAR and Honda have announced a multi-year extension to the agreement that will continue the manufacturer’s presence as an engine supplier to the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Honda will be in competition with Chevrolet for the fifth consecutive season in 2016, with both bugindynotesmanufacturers producing 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. Additionally, beginning in 2015, both Honda and Chevrolet developed aerodynamic bodywork kits for their respective teams _ supplying a road course/street course/short oval aero kit and separate kit for superspeedways.

“We’re grateful for Honda’s long-standing partnership with INDYCAR the last 13 years,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Racing is a part of Honda’s DNA and its continued investment in the Verizon IndyCar Series _ technically on the competition side, but also through sponsoring of events and additional activation _ is instrumental to the success and continued growth of our sport.”

Honda has collected 217 Indy-car victories in more than two decades as an engine supplier and won 10 manufacturers’ championships, including six years when it served as sole supplier to the series. In addition, Honda has scored 10 victories in the Indianapolis 500, the sport’s crown jewel, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in May.

Through American Honda and its racing subsidiary, Honda Performance Development, Honda began supplying engines to Indy-car teams in 1994 in Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) competition. Honda joined the Verizon IndyCar Series as an engine supplier in 2003.

“In the 13 years that Honda has been a part of INDYCAR, we’ve had a great deal of success, both against strong competition from other auto manufacturers and as single-engine supplier,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “Honda is pleased to be part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, as it provides both a technical challenge for our associates and a showcase for Honda products worldwide.”

In addition to continuing as a manufacturer in the series, Honda retains title sponsorship rights for three events on the schedule _ the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park, fourth race on the 2016 schedule, April 22-24; the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 29-31, in Lexington, Ohio, and the Honda Indy Toronto, sponsored by Honda Canada, July 15-17.

Former Formula One driver Max Chilton has been signed to drive the No. 8 Chevrolet fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing Teams for the full 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.

Chilton will become the first British driver in more than a decade and just the fourth in the last 24 years (Nigel Mansell-1993, Mark Blundell-1996, Justin Wilson-2004) to have driven fulltime in Formula 1 prior to joining the Verizon IndyCar Series in the same capacity.

“I couldn’t be happier to join Chip Ganassi Racing’s Verizon IndyCar Series program,” Chilton said in a statement. “This organization is built on winning and their 11 INDYCAR championships back that up. Chip is the kind of team owner that every driver dreams of working for in their career. He’s accomplished so much in so many different categories, and I can’t wait to start driving for him.”

At 24, Chilton joins the team after making 35 starts from 2013-14 for the Marussia Formula 1 Team, including a rookie record for most consecutive races finished (25), with 19 logged during his first season.  In 2015, Chilton made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut with Nissan Motorsports in the LMP1 category, while also contesting his first season in Indy Lights with Carlin Motorsport, winning at Iowa Speedway from pole position.

Prior to Formula 1, Chilton spent the 2010-12 seasons in the GP2 Series scoring two wins. In addition, Chilton contested the British Formula 3 Championship from 2007-09, where he also was a race-winner.

TCGR’s classic “Lightning Bolt” livery will be showcased on the No. 9 Target Chevrolet driven by four-time/reigning Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon during the 2016 season.

Dixon will be chasing his fifth championship in his 16th season with TCGR _ the longest tenure for a driver in team history. The series’ active leader in wins, Dixon is fifth on the all-time Indy-car list with 38 after posting three victories and claiming his fourth championship in 2015. TCGR is an 11-time Verizon IndyCar Series championship team with 99 victories, 85 pole positions and four wins in the Indianapolis 500. The team will celebrate its 27th year of partnership with Target in 2016.

Target’s “Lightning Bolt” livery debuted in 1995 at the season-opening race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with drivers Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta, and ran through the 2001 season-finale at California Speedway with Bruno Junqueira and Memo Gidley. The livery reached a fever pitch in the mid-1990s when Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-1998) and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999) accomplished the first “four-peat” in Indy-car history by winning four consecutive championships.

Shortly after, Montoya put the “Lightning Bolt” in Victory Lane as a rookie at the 2000 Indy 500 for Target’s first win in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” To commemorate Montoya’s return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Target, the paint scheme also made a one-off appearance in 2009 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400.

“It’s very cool to see the paint scheme,” Dixon said during an INDYCAR Media Day interview at IMS. “It was actually the very first Target car in ’97 I saw when you went to my first IndyCar race in Vancouver and then to Laguna Seca that same year. Brings back a lot of great memories, great drivers, too _Vasser, Zanardi, Herta, and Montoya.

When I came round 2002, the paint scheme had moved on and changed from that point. For me, obviously this group being together for so long, 27 years with Target, an amazing ride. Hopefully this year with the 100th running, bringing back this iconic paint scheme, we’re obviously hoping for big things.”

Rising oval-track star Sage Karam will reunite with Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing with sponsorship from Gas Monkey Garage for the 100th running of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Indianapolis 500 in May.

Dallas-based Gas Monkey Garage, a high-performance/car restoration business featured in the “Fast N’ Loud” television series on Discovery Network, will be making its first appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Karam will drive the No. 24 Gas Monkey Garage Special for Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing during “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I’m really thrilled to be associated with Gas Monkey Garage for the 100th Indy 500,” said Karam, a 20-year-old native of Nazareth, Pa., who climbed through the Mazda Road to Indy ranks by winning the 2010 USF2000 and 2013 Indy Lights championships. “It’s exciting to return to the Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom team as well. We had a great run in 2014 at Indy.

“As a kid, Discovery Channel was one of my favorite stations and, most recently, I really got into the ‘Fast N’ Loud’ show with the Gas Monkey Garage guys. I love cars and these guys are fun to watch, so I can’t wait to work with them and drive the Gas Monkey Special in May.”

Karam made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut as a 19-year-old high school senior in the 2014 Indy 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold in association with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, completing a sensational drive from 31st in the 33-car starting field to finish ninth. Karam won the “Hard Charger” award for his performance as well as he and his crew placing second in the Indy 500 Pit Crew Championship.

Karam returns to the Indy 500 for his third appearance after competing in 12 events in 2015 for Chip Ganassi Racing. Karam scored his first IndyCar Series podium with a third at Iowa Speedway and also notched a fifth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Karam also has competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring sports car events.

The No. 24 Gas Monkey Garage Special will be the latest Indy 500 entry for Dreyer & Reinbold dating to the 1930s with legendary car-builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer, a former factory motorcycle racer. Dreyer’s grandson, Dennis Reinbold, has entered the Indy 500 dating to 2000, successfully qualifying 34 entries.

“We’ve been working very hard since last year’s 500 to build a strong commercial and competitive program for the 100th running,” said Reinbold, team principal of DRR. “We believe Sage Karam is a very talented driver and we can’t wait for the Month of May. The Gas Monkey Garage brand is known worldwide and bringing them to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time is a thrill.”

DRR/Kingdom Racing, a past winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series, has recorded four top-10 finishes in the Indy 500 including fourth in 2012, seventh in 2010, eighth in 2008 and ninth in 2014.

Kingdom Racing, whose mission is to Deliver God’s Word through motorsports, is returning for its ninth consecutive Indy 500 appearance. “We are extremely excited to be joining Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Sage Karam for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500,” said former open-wheel regular Davey Hamilton, Kingdom Racing’s managing director. “We have past experience with Sage and have confidence we can be contenders for the win.”

Gas Monkey Garage has been a successful automotive brand and collector car restoration business since 2002. The GMG brand is one of the world’s most visible within the automobile industry, and will launch a new energy drink this year using the Indianapolis 500 as a platform.

Led by Richard Rawlings and partner Aaron Kaufman, Gas Monkey Garage continues to expand its motorsports portfolio with its Indy 500 venture. In 2016, GMG also is partnering with the Riley Engineering Dodge Viper in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Laughlin Motorsports Pro Stock Chevy Camaro entry in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

“The Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world and our Gas Monkey Garage brand ties in very well with the team and legendary race,” said Rawlings, a native of Fort Worth, Texas. “We can’t wait to see the Gas Monkey Garage Special on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Karam and the No. 24 Gas Monkey Garage Special are scheduled to take their first official 2016 Indy 500 laps Monday, May 16, during practice. Qualifications are set for Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. The race is scheduled to start at 12:20 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, May 29.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, February 3 2016
No Comment

Comments are closed.