Friday 10 February 2012

FIA/WEC: Honda equips six teams in 2012

Honda equips six teams in 2012
Honda Performance Development unveiled a busy endurance racing programme for the 2012 season. The Japanese manufacturer will provide seven cars to six teams in two categories, in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the American Le Mans Series. Honda intend not only to confirm 2011 results in LM P2, but also put a toe in the water of the LM P1 class.

Three teams have been known since the announcement last week of competitors admitted to the FIA World Endurance Championship: Strakka, JRM Racing and Starworks Motorsport. The other three teams (Level 5 Motorsports with two cars, Muscle Milk and Black Swan Racing) will line up in the American Le Mans Series, with a participation in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans for Level 5.

Strakka has been present in endurance racing paddocks for many years and can boast a victory in the LM P2 category in 2010 with a fifth place overall. The British team will entrust the car to Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts. New this year: the team passes from LM P2 into the premier class with a Honda ARX-03a V8 petrol.

Coming from the FIA ​​GT1 World Championship, the JRM Racing team traded the Nissan GT-R that allowed Lucas Luhr and Michael Krumm to win the title in 2011 for a Honda LM P1 and took the opportunity to reshape the driver line-up. Lucas Luhr is already retained by Muscle Milk Motorsport, so the British team will include the winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2009 David Brabham, the Indian Karun Chandok and Peter Dumbreck, who raced the second Nissan last year.

Starworks Motorsport, listed in the FIA World Endurance Championship, are not an unknown in endurance racing, having taken second place in the Daytona 24 Hours ten days ago. The team was revived by Peter Baron, who founded the team BAM! racing a Porsche GT2 in the American Le Mans Series in the early 2000s. The American Ryan Dalziel and Venezuelan Enzo Potolicchio, attendance at Daytona, will drive the V6 engined Honda ARX-03b LM P2.

Level 5 Motorsports will attempt to retain American Le Mans series LM P2 drivers and team titles by racing two Hondas instead of Lola-Honda. Both drivers are already chosen: the Frenchman Christophe Bouchut, former winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, and team owner, Scott Tucker. The team will attempt to beat the third-place finish last year at Le Mans in the next 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Black Swan team will make its debut in LM P2 with a Lola chassis powered by Honda B10/80 after having raced in LM GT2 and LM GTC, in which they won the title in 2010. Tim Pappas, owner of the team, and Jeroen Bleekemolen continue as drivers. Finally, Racing Muscle Milk will also return in the American Le Mans Series, swapping the Lola-Aston Martin for a Honda, but retaining the Germanic pairing of Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf.

The programme looks busy for HPD and its vice president Steve Eriksen: "Back in LM P1 while continuing our programme in LM P2 will be the biggest challenge to date for our engineers and our partners, but I am very confident in our abilities and I look forward to the 2012 season. We hope that the design, development and technical expertise of HPD and its technical partners, who have already proven themselves, will provide our teams with the tools to succeed. This will be an exciting season. "

Cecile Bonardel (according to the statement of Honda Performance Development)

Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe, FRANCE), 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, June 8, 2011, PRACTICE. Strakka is once again equipped by Honda, but will move up from LM P2 to the LM P1 class.
Photo : Frédéric GAUDIN - ACO/NIKON

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