Honda Scores 50th Champ Car Win

1/3/2001 6:16:37 AM

Today's race victory is Honda's 50th Champ Car win since the manufacturer entered CART FedEx Championship Series competition at the start of the 1994 season. In less than seven full seasons in the world's most diverse and competitive racing series, Honda-powered CART drivers have won on all four types of race tracks that make up the FedEx Championship Series: high-banked super-speedways, short ovals, permanent road courses and temporary street circuits.

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