Honda unveils new 2015 Accord safety car

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Honda has officially unveiled its new-for-2015 Accord safety car ahead of this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. See below for more:

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.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”