Honda Racing Sets Strong Pace for 2001 CART Season

9/14/2001 9:17:22 PM

By the time the green flag flew in the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series, the number of Honda-powered teams had grown to include nine outstanding Honda drivers.

With five consecutive CART driver championships through 2000, Honda power had more than proven its effectiveness. The 2001 racing season included the addition of more top-notch driving talent with former CART Champion Michael Andretti and two-time CART Champion Alex Zanardi. Also joining the Honda powered-family for 2001 were Adrian Fernandez and Shinji Nakano behind the wheels for Fernandez Racing. In addition, Tony Kanaan returned to the Honda powered-family with Mo Nunn Racing.

Honda captured the 2000 Drivers Championship, Team Penske returned with defending Champion Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves, while Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy returned for a fourth Honda-powered season with Team Green.

Near the end of the season, Honda led the manufacturers points battle as Helio Castroneves led Ford driver Kenny Brack for the Driver's Championship. Honda power helped Michael Andretti secure his 41st career win, the most of any current driver in CART history.

Honda's 2001 racing engine, designated the HR-1 Series, is a turbocharged 2.65-liter V-8 capable of more than 800-horsepower at 15,000 RPM. Honda Performance Development (HPD), a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is the technical operations center for Honda's Championship Car engine program and coordinates Honda's participation in the CART FedEx Championship Series. HPD was established in 1993 in Santa Clarita, California. Honda entered CART in 1994 and to date has accumulated 58 wins, 5 Driver's Championships and three Manufacturer's Championships.

More than any other automobile manufacturer, racing is ingrained in the corporate culture of Honda. A former racer himself, company founder Soichiro Honda believed in competition - and at the highest possible levels - as a means to improve his company, its people and products. In addition, Honda has always viewed racing as the ideal training for engineers and designers.

From CART to Formula 1 to the Sports Car Club of America, the results of Honda's racing efforts show up on the streets because the same engineers who design race engines are often the same ones who design engines for Civics, Accords, Odysseys, CR-Vs and others. The final result is a lineup of vehicles that provide excellent performance, strong reliability, enhanced safety and spirited handling.