Honda Scores 50th Champ Car Win
1/3/2001 6:16:37 AM
Those 50 wins also contributed to Honda's three CART Manufacturer's Championships (1996, '98 and '99); four consecutive Driver's Titles (Jimmy Vasser -- 1996, Alex Zanardi -- 1997-98, and Juan Montoya -- 1999); and three Rookies of the Year (Zanardi -- 1996, Tony Kanaan -- 1998, and Montoya -- 1999). In each of the last three seasons, Honda-powered drivers have placed 1-2-3 in the final driver's standings.
"Honda has always been involved in racing, it is a part of our corporate culture," said Tom Elliott, Executive Vice-President of American Honda and President of Honda Performance Development. "We're very proud of reaching this milestone in CART, and we would like to thank all of the teams, drivers and personnel involved in our Champ Car racing program over the last six years for making this success possible. This victory also reflects the tremendous hard work, dedication and true racing spirit of our Honda associates, both here and in Japan."
The victories began with Andre Ribeiro at the New England 200 in 1995, Honda's second year of CART racing. Honda's first two poles also came that season -- at the Michigan 500 with Parker Johnstone and in New England with Ribeiro.
The manufacturer hit its stride in 1996, when Honda posted its first "Triple Crown" of major CART titles. From Vasser's victory at the Miami season-opener to Zanardi's thrilling last-lap pass to win at Laguna Seca, there were a total of 11 race wins and 12 poles that season. Honda won its first Manufacturer's Championship, Vasser took the Driver's and Zanardi was named Rookie of the Year.
More victories and poles -- 6 each -- followed in 1997 as Zanardi led Honda drivers to a 1-2-3 sweep of the final standings. In 1998, Honda again won the CART Triple Crown, with 13 race wins and 7 poles. Honda-powered drivers repeated their 1-2-3 domination of the points and Tony Kanaan was named series Rookie of the Year.
Last year was another classic for Honda, and its third CART Triple Crown of championships. The 14 race victories was a record for the company, and Juan Montoya claimed both the driver's and rookie titles in a down-to-the-wire battle with Honda-powered Dario Franchitti. Since joining Championship Car racing six and a half years ago, no other car company has matched Honda's performance record. This season, Honda's five victories to date are unsurpassed by any CART manufacturer.
Honda Achieves CART 50-Win Milestone
TORRANCE, Calif., Aug. 13 -- In less than seven full years of CART Champ Car competition, Honda's accomplishments have rivaled the company's storied success in Formula One racing during the 1980s and early '90s, meeting or exceeding all expectations.
This weekend's Honda-powered victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course marks Honda's 50th race win since the manufacturer entered CART at the start of the 1994 season.
This record was complied over the past six and a half seasons by a total of 18 different driver's racing Honda-powered Champ Cars for 10 CART teams. Ten of those drivers won races for Honda, starting with Andre Ribeiro at the New England 200 in 1995 and continuing through this weekend's race. Other Honda-powered race winners have included Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Gil de Ferran, Adrian Fernandez, Dario Franchitti, Juan Montoya, Paul Tracy, Tony Kanaan and most recently, Helio Castroneves. The teams also make up the top echelon in CART: Tasman Motorsports, Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, Jim Hall Racing, Team KOOL Green and Walker Racing.
The Honda Champ Car program "came of age" in 1996, in just its third year of CART competition. From Jimmy Vasser's season-opening victory at Miami to "the pass" by Alex Zanardi to win the Laguna Seca season finale there were a total of 11 race wins and 12 poles that season. Honda won its first manufacturer's crown, Vasser took the PPG Cup and Zanardi was named Rookie of the Year.
More victories and poles -- 6 each -- followed in 1997 as Zanardi led Honda drivers to the first of three consecutive 1-2-3 sweeps of the final PPG Cup standings.
The following season was another classic for the company, with 13 victories and 7 poles in the 19-race season and a second Manufacturer's Championship. Alex Zanardi recorded his second consecutive Driver's Championship, the third in a row for a Honda-powered driver. Honda drivers were again 1-2-3 (Zanardi, Vasser and Franchitti) in the final standings, and former Indy Lights champion Kanaan secured series Rookie of the Year honors. Capping off 1998, Honda posted its first 1-2-3 race sweep (Franchitti, Zanardi, Kanaan) of a FedEx Championship Series podium at the Grand Prix of Houston and clinched the 1998 manufacturer's title at the same event. Last year was a continuation of Honda's CART success, with 14 race victories and 13 poles -- both setting new records of achievement for the company. Franchitti and Juan Montoya battled for the driver's title throughout the second half of the 20-race season, with the championship going to Montoya only on a tie-breaker at season's end. Honda successfully defended its "Triple Crown" of major CART championships -- Manufacturer, Driver and Rookie -- with Montoya also claiming rookie honors to go with his driver's crown and Paul Tracy making it another Honda-powered 1-2-3 finish in the driver's points table. And just past the mid-point of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series season, the manufacturer has posted five CART race victories. Four Honda-powered drivers -- de Ferran, Tracy, Franchitti and Castroneves -- are all in the thick of the Driver's Championship battle. During the past six seasons, the level of competition within the CART FedEx Championship Series has increased virtually race-by-race. As the 2000 season continues, Honda-powered drivers and teams will continue to exceed expectations -- and set new milestones in the process.
Honda-Powered CART Drivers & Teams 1994-2000: 1994 Rahal-Hogan Racing Rahal & Mike Groff Comptech Racing Parker Johnstone 1995 Tasman Motorsports Andre Ribeiro & Scott Goodyear Comptech Racing Parker Johnstone 1996 Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Jimmy Vasser & Alex Zanardi Tasman Motorsports Andre Ribeiro & Adrian Fernandez Brix/Comptech Racing Parker Johnstone Jim Hall Racing Gil de Ferran 1997 Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Jimmy Vasser & Alex Zanardi Tasman Motorsports Andre Ribeiro & Adrian Fernandez Team KOOL Green Parker Johnstone Walker Racing Gil de Ferran 1998 Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Jimmy Vasser & Alex Zanardi Tasman Motorsports Tony Kanaan Team KOOL Green Dario Franchitti & Paul Tracy Walker Racing Gil de Ferran 1999 Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Jimmy Vasser & Juan Montoya Team KOOL Green Dario Franchitti & Paul Tracy Walker Racing Gil de Ferran, Naoki Hattori & Memo Gidley Forsythe Championship Racing Tony Kanaan 2000 Marlboro Team Penske Gil de Ferran & Helio Castroneves Team KOOL Green Dario Franchitti & Paul Tracy Walker Racing Shinji Nakano & Bryan Herta Honda CART Fast Stats August 14, 2000 -- 119 CART races -- 50 CART race wins -- 17 consecutive temporary street circuit wins, 1998 - 2000 -- 4 victory podium "sweeps" -- 3 CART Manufacturer's Championships (1996,1998 and 1999) -- 4 CART Driver Titles (1996-Jimmy Vasser, 1997-98-Alex Zanardi, 1999 - Juan Montoya) -- 3 CART Rookies of the Year (1996-Alex Zanardi, 1998-Tony Kanaan, 1999 - Juan Montoya) -- 10 race winning drivers (Alex Zanardi-15, Jimmy Vasser-8, Juan Montoya-7, Dario Franchitti-6, Gil de Ferran-4, Paul Tracy-3, Andre Ribeiro-3, Helio Castroneves, Adrian Fernandez and Tony Kanaan-1 each). -- 6 race winning teams (Target/Chip Ganassi Racing-30, Team KOOL Green-9, Tasman Motorsports/Forsythe Championship Racing-5, Marlboro Team Penske-3, Walker Racing-1; Jim Hall Racing-1) -- 46 pole positions -- 6 Series of CART Honda turbocharged V-8 engines designed, produced, maintained and raced since 1994 Total Total Short Year Races Victories Road Street Oval Speedway Poles 1994 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 1995 17 1 0 0 1 0 1996 16 11 3 4 2 2 12 1997 17 6 3 2 0 1 1998 19 13 2 7 3 1 7 1999 20 14 2 7 4 1 13 2000** 12 5 2 2 1 -- 6 Total 119 50 12 22 11 5 46 Manufacturer Honda Champ Year Standings Car Engine 1994 N/A* Honda HRX 1995 3rd Honda HRX & HRH 1996 1st Honda HRH 1997 2nd Honda HRR 1998 1st Honda HRK 1999 1st Honda HRS 2000** 2nd** Honda HR-0 *CART Manufacturer's Championship began with the 1995 season **As of August 12, 2000