Honda HPD ARX 04b
Honda revealed its entry for this year’s Pikes Peak hillclimb, and surprisingly, the car is the same car which competed in this year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The Honda-powered HPD ARX-04b will be the first full-carbon monocoque vehicle sanctioned to officially compete in the hill climb. Usually, a manufacturer brings a vehicle created specifically for the challenges of Pikes Peak. On these monsters, the insanity is usually cranked up to 11, especially in the popular Unlimited class where full-blown race cars boast incredible aerodynamics and engines with more than 800 hp. The cars are visually characterized by short wheelbases, and massive front aerodynamic lips and rear wings, bearing little resemblance to any other race cars from other classes. Honda’s ARX-04b departs from this strategy, as the company is simply bringing its traditional Le Mans Prototype (LMP) road-racing car. This radical shift in design in due to the Pikes Peak course having been fully paved in the past few years. Entrants no longer have to build their cars around a high-speed dirt course, so cars have made the shift from overpowered rally-bred tubs to full-blown, low-slung track-day weapons. Honda previously entered Pikes Peak with cars as diverse as a heavily modified Honda Odyssey, Pilot, Fit, an NSX, and a modified Honda CR-Z. The Honda ARX-04b will run the 156-turn course with a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that the automaker says is loosely production-based. The car will be driven by Verizon IndyCar Series winner and former Formula 1 driver Justin Wilson. This is an experimental move by Honda, as the company is unsure how the engine will perform at high altitudes; the Pikes Peak course reaches up to 14,110 feet. “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,” Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, said in a statement. The official Pikes Peak Hill Climb begins on June 28.