Honda Talking Points Barber
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
April 1, 2012
2 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network
ENGINE MANUFACTURER COMPETITION
- The 2012 season marks the return of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Lotus now join Honda in providing engines to the 26-car starting field.
- At last weekend's season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon led the Honda-powered field with a second-place finish. Honda comes to this weekend's race second in the Manufacturers' Championship, with nine points, to 12 for Chevrolet. Lotus is third, with four points.
- Honda will field 10 drivers and teams this weekend at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, anchored by the four-car Chip Ganassi team, which includes 2008 series champion Dixon, four-time series champion Dario Franchitti; Graham Rahal, and rising star Charlie Kimball.
- Other drivers and teams using the new turbocharged Honda Indy V-6 engine this weekend include Justin Wilson and James Jakes with Dale Coyne Racing; Takuma Sato with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing; Simon Pagenaud, leader in the series Rookie of the Year standings, with Schmidt Hamilton Racing; Mike Conway with A.J. Foyt Racing and 2011 Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.
- From 2006-2011, Honda supplied engines to every IndyCar Series competitor. A total of 98 drivers raced with the Honda Indy V-8 during that period, with 15 drivers recording race victories. Honda engines logged approximately 1.2 million miles of practice, qualifying and racing in the series; and nearly 500,000 actual race miles.
- During the six years that Honda served as IndyCar engine supplier, the company also provided engines to the full 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field - and for the only six times in Indy 500 history (2006-2011), there were no engine failures recorded in the Memorial Day weekend classic.
- This weekend's race will be the third IZOD IndyCar Series event at the scenic, 2-3-mile Barber Motorsports Park circuit, and the second year American Honda has served as title sponsor of the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama. American Honda also sponsored last weekend's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg; and will again be the title sponsor of the Honda Indy 200 in August at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In addition to these three events, Honda Canada entitles the Honda Indy Toronto.
- Two new Honda race-related marketing programs debuted last weekend at St. Petersburg and will continue this weekend at Barber. The Honda Racing Backstage Pass offers an exclusive race-day entertainment package to loyal Honda owners who apply though the Honda Racing/HPD Facebook page. It includes a VIP tour of the paddock, Honda Tech Talk and special seats in the Honda Fan Section, also new for 2012.
- The Honda On Track Ticket provides a high-end, branded experience for fans at seven events this year, centered around the INDYCAR Two-Seater and Safety Car ride-along programs. Special guests of Honda will receive a personal, on-track riding experience, in either a Honda Safety Car or the Two-Seater IndyCar.
- On Thursday, March 29, Honda drivers Dixon, Jakes, Kimball and Sato will visit the Honda Manufacturing of Alabama auto assembly plant in nearby Lincoln, AL. With approximately 4,000 associates, HMA has the capacity to build up to 300,000 Honda cars and trucks annually.
HONDA CIVIC Si PACE CAR
- The new 2012 Honda Civic Si made its debut as an IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car at last year's Honda Indy Toronto. This Civic was originally built by Honda of Canada Manufacturing, and then developed into a series Safety Car at Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.
- Additional modifications installed at HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit, consisting of front, side and rear under spoilers; Firestone Firehawk 225/40 R18 tires mounted on Enkei alloy wheels, and an IndyCar Series graphics package.