HPD Begins LMS European Season With RML, Strakka

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Strakka Racing won the LM P2 class at Le Mans in 2010 with HPD chassis and engine
Photo: © 2011 Anne Proffit

Santa Clarita, CA-based Honda Performance Development (HPD) had a grand start to its American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) competition during the 59th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring earlier in March.  Now the company is preparing for its two-car assault on the Europe-based Le Mans Series competition at Paul Ricard road-course circuit in France, site of the season opening race.

With defending LM P2 champions RML switching from a Lola coupe to the ARX-01d open car for the 2011 campaign and with Le Mans-winning Strakka Racing continuing with the ARX chassis, HPD feels confident that it's got the right combination to fare well - even with a new production-based HPD HR28TT V-6 engine under the cowling.

RML continues with the same driver line-up as 2010 in Ben Collins, Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton.  Strakka's driver complement is Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts.  

"Once again, HPD will be competing in sports-prototype events around the globe, noted Steve Eriksen, HPD vice president.  "Our year got off to a great start at Sebring.  Second overall and in LM P1 with the brand-new Highcroft Racing ARX-01e; and the LM P2 class win with our new partner Level 5 Motorsports.

"Now the European season starts," Eriksen continued.  "We've given ourselves a tough act to follow after last season's successes, but we're excited about taking on that challenge."

Level 5 Motorsports joins the European competition in May at Spa Franchorchamps in Belgium, which is the second round for both the LMS and ILMC.  A rather ambitious effort, Level 5 - owned and led by driver Scott Tucker - will field an HPD-powered Lola coupe for the ILMC rounds and continue with a pair of HPD-Lola's in ALMS competition.  Level 5's full-time driver grouping includes team principal Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz.

The new HPD LM P2 engine comes from Honda's production-based global V-6 and uses HPD's exclusive engine control system.  It is a join effort between HPD and Honda R&D Americas, Inc., based in Ohio.  

© 2011 Anne Proffit

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