Motorsports

Published on June 23rd, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Honda is bringing an LMP2 car to Pike’s Peak

Every year, those who enter the Pike’s Peak hill climb challenge try to push the boundary a little bit further. In more recent years, the course has progressed to become entirely paved- making it far friendlier for a broader range of cars to enter the competition. Where there the original Pike’s Peak vehicles were more akin to rally cars, recent times have seen an influx of road cars, GT cars, and time-attack style cars making a run for the title.

The #60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda contended for victory and finished sixth at the Rolex 24.

Sebastien Loeb showed up 2 years ago and annihilated the competition in his built-for-Pike’s-Peak tarmac rally machine. But his clean sweep left a vacuum which other competitors are desperately trying to fill. Among these competitors is Honda Performance Development, which is the motorsports arm of Honda North America. Established in California back in 1993, this company is responsible for Honda’s brief foray into the World Endurance Championship and American Le Mans Series.

The HPD ARX-04b will debut in 2015. The coupe design will be eligible for IMSA, WEC, ELMS and Asian Le Mans Series competition.

For Pike’s Peak 2015, they’re pulling out their ARX-04b LMP2 car that took part in the 24 Hours of Daytona. It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 motor, based on the production 3.5-litre V6 that appears in numerous Honda and Acura models stateside. This year it’s unlikely that Honda will be letting these cars loose in the World Endurance Championship as legislation changes have resulted in these LMP2 cars becoming defunct.

FORT WORTH, TX - JUNE 09: Justin Wilson of England, driver of the #18 Sonny's BBQ Honda Dallara, speaks to the media after winning the IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

It will be piloted by Justin Wilson, an Indycar and brief F1 driver. This will be Wilson’s first time heading up to the peak, and Honda Performance Development is aiming to gather as much data as they can on the LMP2 car in terms of chassis and high-altitude performance. How well that translates to the real world is yet to be seen, but Honda has always had heavy involvement in motorsports. Despite their withdrawal from Formula 1, Honda still places importance on a motorsports program, and any opportunity to test the mettle of engineers is a learning experience for the Japanese giant.

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