HPD-Honda equipped Extreme Speed Motorsports celebrated a podium finish Saturday night at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, finishing third in the LMP2 category in the team’s FIA World Endurance Championship debut.
After six hours of competition that started at 5 p.m. CDT – and included heavy rains that deluged the 3.4-mile road course and led to a 50-minute red flag – the Ryan Dalziel, Scott Sharp and Ed Brown-driven HPD ARX-03b Honda came home an impressive 10th overall with both Dalziel and Sharp leading LMP2 during their stints behind the wheel.
While the race started in hot, humid but dry conditions; heavy rain drenched the circuit in the second hour, which resulted in a number of cars spinning, prior to a red flag being called. Starting driver and early LMP2 leader Sharp survived the initial treacherous conditions, and had just pitted to change to rain tires when the race was halted by the red flag.
After a stoppage of just under an hour, the race resumed with Sharp driving aggressively to regain ground lost by being in pit lane when the race was halted. Taking over just after the halfway point, Dalziel turned laps as much as six seconds quicker than the LMP2 leaders during his stint, until transmission issues forced him to reduce his pace. Assuming the driving duties for the final 90 minutes, Ed Brown brought the Extreme Speed HPD-Honda home to a podium finish in the inaugural WEC race for the team.
The HPD-developed Honda engine used in the WEC – and in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – is derived from the Honda “J35” series of production V6 engines and includes relevant twin-turbocharger technology, along with the efficiency provided by direct fuel injection. Key production-based components utilized in the HR28TT include block and heads, direct injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire throttle, alternator, sensors, fasteners, etc. The engine even utilizes a stock Honda oil filter.
HPD’s prototype racing efforts have resulted in more than 60 victories and multiple American Le Mans Series championships. HPD won the LMP2 title in the inaugural 2012 World Endurance Championship and won the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2010 and 2012.
Earlier on Saturday, the Honda-powered OAK Racing Ligier JSP2 of Alex Brundle and Gustavo Yacaman led 26 laps and finished a close second in the Lone Star Le Mans TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race, with the Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda of Ed Brown and Johannes Overbeek taking the checkers in fourth.
On Friday, the Compass360 Racing duo of Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple won the ST class aboard their Honda Civic Si in the two-hour, thirty-minute Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race here. It was the second victory of the season for the pair, who also won the ST category at the Watkins Glen round in July.
On Saturday morning, Extreme Speed Motorsports announced it would enter the sixth round of the World Endurance Championship, running both of the team’s HPD ARX-03b Hondas at the WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai, November 2 at China’s Shanghai International Circuit.
Scott Sharp (Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda) finished 3rd in LMP2 and 10th overall: “It was a great learning experience for us. We were dealt all kinds of issues and hurdles today. The team jumped on them all and we got our podium [finish]. Ed [Brown] and Ryan [Dalziel] did a great job, and everybody hung together. We had some issues at the end, and Ed had some additional responsibilities in the car above and beyond driving. We accomplished everything we wanted this weekend. A win would have been a bonus, but we’ll take third place tonight. That rain was a torrential downpour and one of the worst conditions I’ve ever driven in. Luckily, I was able to keep it on the track. I pitted, we switched to rain tires, and then they red-flagged the race. We got stuck at the end of pit lane and that cost us a lap. Once Ryan got going in his stint, we were on the right pace. I’m proud of the entire team. They put a tremendous effort into this race and this weekend.”
Ryan Dalziel (Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda): It was a great day. We came in here with a focus to get a podium. We had some ups and downs, and the team overcame some problems. When we were out in clean air [and leading], the car was really quick. We definitely felt we had the speed to pull away. But we got caught in the pits when it rained and lost some time. We feel we executed everything right, and this was a good result. Now let’s go to Shanghai and prove we can win.”
Allen Miller (Prototype Project Leader, Honda Performance Development) on tonight’s race: “We’re quite happy with the outcome of our return to the World Endurance Championship with the HPD chassis and Honda engine. It was an encouraging debut for Extreme Speed Motorsports, in their first time running under WEC rules. They had a very competitive run going until forced to slightly reduce their pace during the last 90 minutes, to conserve the transmission. Thanks to everyone involved at HPD for their hard work and dedication in both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and WEC events this weekend.”
Circuit: Circuit of the Americas (3.4-mile road course) Austin, Texas
Weather: Partly sunny, humid, 84-degrees at race start; heavy rain at 90-minute mark resulting in 55-minute red flag; remainder of race overcast, humid, warm, 79 degrees
Honda Propels Extreme Speed Motorsports to Podium WEC Result
Race-winning HPD-Honda team makes World Endurance Championship debut
Third-place LMP2 result for HPD ARX-03b Honda at the Circuit of the Americas
Team to run two cars at upcoming Shanghai WEC round