Honda HPD ARX-04b Will Tackle Pikes Peak

honda hpd arx-04b will tackle pikes peak – DOC634355

Honda has announced that its hyper-powered 2014 Honda HPD ARX-04b LMP2 contender/spaceship will make a run up the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb later this month. The climb will be part of an “exploratory effort” for a possible future attempt at besting the outright record of 8:13.878, which was set in 2013 when rally legend Sebastien Loeb brought a factory-backed 2013 Peugeot 208 T16 to the party. 

Manning the helm of the ARX-04b will be IndyCar race winner and former Formula 1 driver, Justin Wilson. The Colorado-based Brit has an extensive racing resume, with 171 combined starts in IndyCar and Champ Car, including seven wins and eight poles. 

“It’s going to be a lot of fun driving the Honda ARX-04b up the hill and giving it everything I’ve got,” Wilson said. “This is my first time competing at Pikes Peak and I’m really looking forward to the experience. I’ve run with Honda at the Indy GP and the ‘500’ this year, and also have run Formula E and at the 12 Hours of Sebring. But this will be every bit as difficult as any of them. I’m looking forward to the challenge and working with everyone at Honda.”

The ARX-04b will be the first full-carbon-fiber monocoque-based vehicle to see sanctioned entry for the event. It will compete in the Unlimited class, where only the most extreme range of highly modified cars vie for supremacy, with each expected to complete a run into the Colorado clouds in under 10 minutes.

“We want to see how well our ARX-04b chassis adapts to the rigors of the climb, and the high-altitude demands placed on our production-based V-6 engine,” said Art St. Cyr, President of Honda Performance Devel opment. “The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has always been an interesting project for many Honda divisions. The diversity of classes and very open nature of the rulebook continues to be very appealing to Honda and the passions of its associates.”

Why it matters

While Honda says this year’s run will be made to explore a possible record-beating attempt later on, I can’t help but think about Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship. The Japanese automaker currently gives a good deal of support in the LMP2 class, but bowed out of the premiere LMP1 class.

Although there’s no indication Honda will refresh its Le Mans presence with a true-blue factory effort, this run up Pikes Peak might indicate something is in the works.

There are currently four manufacturers competing in LMP1 – Porsche, Audi, Nissan, and Toyota. BMW is also reportedly considering an entry with a hydrogen-powered prototype (although that vehicle will most likely end up in the experimental Garage 56 class).

Although there’s no indication Honda will refresh its Le Mans presence with a true-blue factory effort, this run up Pikes Peak might indicate something is in the works.

Either that or Honda just wants some attention after its competitors stole the spotlight at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Alternately called “The Race to the Clouds,” the PPIHC is an annual racing event that sees both cars and motorcycles competing for a best time to the summit of the 14,110-foot Pikes Peak mountain in Colorado. The race consists of 156 turns and 12.42 competitive miles, with 4,720 feet of elevation change over grades averaging 7.2 percent.

The race consists of 156 turns and 12.42 competitive miles, with 4,720 feet of elevation change over grades averaging 7.2 percent.

The first race was held in 1916, and consisted of both tarmac and gravel surfaces. However, the route was fully paved in August of 2011, enabling road course-oriented vehicles like the ARX-04b to also take up the challenge.

Honda has a long history at Pikes Peak, entering a variety of different cars and motorcycles over the years, including an Acura NSX, Honda Fit, CRF460R, and even a highly modified, 532-horsepower Odyssey minivan.

This year’s event will take place June 28th, with practice and qualifying sessions scheduled for the preceding Tuesday through Friday. A variety of different classes will take part, including electric vehicles, open-wheel cars, vintage cars, trucks, quads, side-car motorcycles, and the usual gamut of sports and performance vehicles.

Honda Performance Development ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe

Honda Performance Development ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe

The ARX-04b is the latest development of Honda’s ARX prototype program. Traditionally fitted with a 2.8-liter V-6, the car shown in Colorado will instead bear a twin-turbo 3.5 V-6. The car was developed as a joint effort between HPD and Wirth Research, and features all the regular attributes of a dedicated endurance racer, such as low drag, high fuel efficiency, and quick-change body work at the nose and tail.

Press Release

A number of different types of Honda and Acura vehicles have taken part in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in recent years, ranging from the Acura NSX to the Honda Fit, and even a high-speed Honda Odyssey, but Honda Performance Development has upped the ante this year by entering one its newest sports cars in the race up the 14,110-foot mountain.

The new Honda-powered HPD ARX-04b LMP2 coupe that competed in this year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona has been entered in the 2015 Pikes Peak event, and will be driven by Verizon IndyCar Series race winner and former Formula 1 driver Justin Wilson.

The ARX-04b will be the first full-carbon monocoque vehicle ever sanctioned for PPIHC entry and will be fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine. The ARX-04b will compete in the Unlimited class, which features highly-modified cars that can navigate the 156 turns of the 12.42-mile course in under 10 minutes.

“This is an exploratory effort, to learn as much as we can in advance of a possible future assault on the outright record [8:13.878, set by Sebastien Loeb in 2013]. We want to see how well our ARX-04b chassis adapts to the rigors of the Climb, and the high-altitude demands placed on our production-based V6 engine,” said Art St. Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development. “The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has always been an interesting project for many Honda divisions. The diversity of classes and very open nature of the rulebook continues to be very appealing to Honda and the passions of its associates.

“We’re looking forward to this. We hope to have a lot of fun, and we’re certainly not holding back with Justin Wilson behind the wheel. We think the fans will enjoy the show, as well.”

The ARX-04b, which was developed through a joint effort between HPD and Wirth Research, features energy-efficient technology with low drag and high fuel efficiency and quick change front and rear bodywork. It will be in the capable hands of Wilson, who has made 171 combined starts in Indy Car and Champ Car competition, with seven wins and eight poles.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun driving the Honda ARX-04b up the hill and giving it everything I’ve got,” Wilson said. “This is my first time competing at Pikes Peak and I’m really looking forward to the experience. I’ve run with Honda at the Indy GP and the ‘500’ this year, and also have run Formula E and at the 12 Hours of Sebring. But this will be every bit as difficult as any of them. I’m looking forward to the challenge and working with everyone at Honda.”

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb takes place on June 28, with practice and qualifying taking place on various sections of the course from Tuesday to Friday. Fans can follow the progress and see photos and information from the Honda Racing efforts at Pikes Peak via Twitter [https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD] and Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD].

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