Honda has rolled out a new pace car to lead the pack in the IndyCar Series. But it didn’t just slap some graphics and auxiliary lighting on a production model and call it a day.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) was tasked with giving the Accord coupe a thorough overhaul to prepare it for the task at hand. To the 3.5-liter V6, HPD bolted a Borg-Warner turbocharger and fitted high-flow fuel injectors and custom intake, exhaust, pistons, connecting rods and intercooler as well as the crankshaft from the Acura RLX to drive output up to 400 horsepower. The transmission was beefed up as well, with a limited slip differential to help get the power down to the track surface.
To keep it all in check, HPD fitted new brakes, a stiffened suspension and rolling stock. It’s all been topped off with a factory aero kit, special graphics and lighting, with Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses fitted inside. The latest in a series supplied by Honda since 2006, the Accord safety car made its debut this weekend at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
Honda Unveils 2015 Accord Safety Car
Apr 24, 2015 – TORRANCE, Calif.
– Will pace IndyCar Series races starting Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park
– Latest in series of Honda safety cars for Indy car competition
– Production 2015 Honda Accord modified by Honda R&D Americas
Honda today unveiled the 2015 Honda Accord Safety Car, which will lead the Verizon IndyCar Series field to the green flag for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
The latest in a series of Honda Safety Cars utilized since 2006 for Indy car competition, the 2015 Honda Accord Safety Car is a production model featuring performance enhancements created by Honda R&D Americas, Inc., for its new role.
“The 2015 Honda Accord Coupe is an ideal match for IndyCar Safety Car duties,” said Jim Lee, manager of Experiential Marketing for American Honda. “Taking its already large and powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine, we asked the team at Honda R&D Americas to enhance and develop a car that is perfectly suited to lead the Verizon IndyCar Series field. I think they accomplished all that we asked, and more.”
The Honda R&D team started with a production Honda Accord Coupe, then added a mix of engine and chassis modifications to create a fun, fast vehicle fully capable of pacing Indy cars at both road courses and oval tracks across North America.
“Our team really appreciated the opportunity to work with our Honda Performance Development colleagues and deliver this highly capable Accord to the Series,” said Rick Nolan, manager of Honda R&D Americas’ Automobile Prototype Fabrication Department.
Key to the transformation from production vehicle to Safety Car was an assortment of engine modifications focused on increasing horsepower, torque and top speed.
High-flow fuel injectors are mated to a single Borg-Warner turbocharger and hand-crafted intake, intercooler and exhaust systems to produce a healthy 400 horsepower. A crankshaft from the Acura RLX, coupled with Honda Performance Development competition pistons and connecting rods, ensure reliability of the overall engine package.
The standard Honda six-speed transmission is strengthened by high-intensity shot peening, with a Limited Slip differential added to help put the power to the pavement.
Chassis modifications include a HPD brake system, including competition rotors, racing pads and stainless steel brake lines. Other chassis components are stiffened to increase rigidity, while Firestone high-performance tires are mounted on Enkei alloy wheels, with an enhanced camber angle kit to improve handling.
Modifications to the body and interior include power-assisted Sparco seats, four-point racing harnesses and a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit, including front, side and trunk lip spoilers.
An exclusive Honda “Power of Dreams” graphics package caps the conversion from showroom Accord Coupe to an IndyCar Series safety car.
About Honda R&D Americas
Honda R&D Americas, Inc., operates multiple major research and development centers in the U.S. with the capacity to fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America.
These include Honda and Acura cars and trucks; Honda motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles; Honda power equipment products and the new Honda Jet.
Honda R&D Americas is headquartered in Torrance, California, and has locations in Columbus, Ohio; Raymond, Ohio; Pasadena, California; Mountain View, California; Detroit, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; Haw River, North Carolina; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
About American Honda
Honda established operations in America in 1959 and now employs more than 39,000 associates in its North American sales, R&D and manufacturing operations with total capital investment in North America exceeding $23 billion.
Honda operates 17 major manufacturing facilities in North America producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, power equipment products, such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines, and the HondaJet advanced light jet.
Eight Honda auto plants in the region, including four in the U.S., have the capacity to produce 1.92 million automobiles each year, using domestic and globally sourced parts. In 2014, more than 97 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America.
Those plants today manufacture 11 different models, including four passenger cars and seven light trucks using domestic and globally sourced parts. A fifth U.S. auto plant, the Performance Manufacturing Center, is under construction in Marysville, Ohio, and in 2015 will become the exclusive global producer of the next generation Acura NSX supercar.
About Honda Performance Development
HPD was founded in 1993 to spearhead Honda’s entry into Indy car racing. No other manufacturer has matched Honda’s success in Indy cars, which includes 212 race victories, 15 drivers’ championships, six competitive manufacturers’ championships and 10 Indianapolis 500 victories since 2004, including the 2014 event won by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport.
HPD and Honda have a history of success in the classic endurance sports car races, including a pair of LMP2 wins and a privateer LMP1 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2010; as well as multiple American Le Mans Series championships and five LMP2 class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring since 2007. HPD’s Honda engines have recorded 74 race wins at endurance sports car races around the world, with 70 of those victories coming in the HPD-developed line of sports prototype cars.
HPD offers a complete line of race engines for cars from grass roots to pinnacle; for professional, amateur and entry-level racers. For more information about HPD and the company’s racing product lines, please visit http://hpd.honda.com.
Honda Accord sets the pace as Indy safety car with HPD upgrades