Honda Conducts Initial IRL Engine Test
11/8/2002 7:59:45 PM
During the course of the two-day test, driver Dan Wheldon ran more than 400 miles at the 1.5 mile oval, running competitive lap times without any significant problems. The Briton drove a 2002 Dallara chassis fielded by the Andretti Green team and modified to accept the new Honda powerplant.
"We were very pleased with the outcome of this test, achieving all of our goals for this initial shakedown in a relatively short period of time," said Robert Clarke, general manager of Honda Performance Development. "This is just the first step in an exciting new program for Honda, and we're already looking forward to the start of the 2003 season."
Earlier this year, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced plans to enter the Indy Racing League for the 2003 season. The company's U.S. racing subsidiary, Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), contracted with Ilmor Engineering Inc. of Plymouth, Michigan, (a sister company to Ilmor Engineering, Ltd.) to design and build the new engine. HPD and Ilmor will continue to work together as technical partners to develop and produce engines for the 2003 season.
After making his IRL debut at Chicagoland Speedway this season, Wheldon also was pleased to log his first laps with Honda power for Andretti Green Racing. "It was a great opportunity for me," the 24-year-old said. "Growing up in England, you certainly were aware of Honda's great success in motor sports and it's the same with Andretti Green, one of the most successful organizations here in the US. I'm very thankful to Michael Andretti, Kim Green and Kevin Savoree for giving me this opportunity."
Andretti Green co-owner Kim Green was equally enthusiastic. "As far as the test goes, we're very, very happy," Green said. "The engine appears to be very good, and I'd say that Honda and Ilmor have done an excellent job. Our goal here at Homestead was to put together a series of long runs, and give Honda and Ilmor as much data as possible. I also think Dan's done an excellent job, he's been quick and consistent throughout, providing good information back to the team."
Testing will continue through the off-season, with the Honda HI3R making its competition debut at the 2003 IRL season opener at Miami-Homestead Speedway on Sunday, March 2.