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Endurance racing will see the integration of electric-power solutions to race car’s powerplants.
Honda Performance Development (HDP), the racing arm of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., is continuing its involvement in LMP1 endurance sports-car racing with the 2014 introduction of an all-new, turbocharged V6 engine.
The engine will be followed in 2015 by a range of energy recovery options for FIA World Endurance Championship competition.
After several successful seasons supplying the normally aspirated Honda LM-V8 engine to private teams in both the WEC and American Le Mans Series, HPD engineers and designers said they made the decision to offer their partner teams access to updated technology which the company believes will be necessary to successfully compete on the world stage, under the ACO’s new LMP1 energy-based power train regulations.
The new engine, to be designated the Honda HR22T, is based on the same architecture used in the Indianapolis 500-winning, 2.2-liter direct injection turbocharged V6 engine used in IZOD IndyCar Series competition since 2012. This HR22T engine is designed to be coupled with a new energy recovery system developed in concert with HPD technical partner Magneti Marelli.
“This is an exciting new program for HPD and our customer teams in the World Endurance Championship, as it brings manufacturer-level engine technology to privateer teams,” said Steve Eriksen, HPD Vice President and COO. “A small-displacement, direct injection, turbocharged engine with a range of energy recovery options will provide private teams with the technical sophistication they need to compete under the challenging new LMP1 regulations.”
HDP said a completely revised rules package being introduced for the WEC in 2014 opens the door for HPD to introduce this new powertrain system, specifically tailored to meet the needs of private teams engaged in top-level endurance sports-car racing competition.
Starting in 2014, rather than any set engine displacement or air inlet restrictor limits, the technical regulations for the series will specify a maximum fuel-flow rate into the engine, with or without energy recovery systems.
“The new rules say that if you are a private team, you can either run without energy recovery systems or choose to add the level of energy recovery that best suits your needs. This will allow our customers to choose the ERS solution that meets their needs – everything from no energy recovery up to the full eight Megajoule maximum,” Eriksen said. “This new regulation direction that is more conscious of environmental technologies will encourage HPD to participate from the perspectives of both developing future technologies and nurturing engineers.”