Honda has made it official that it will be reinstating the HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype for competition later this month, running the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with Justin Wilson driving.
Here’s the 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 focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.
For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.
Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.
One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.
Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.
It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.
Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.
Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.
Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.
Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.
Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.
Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.
Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.
Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.
The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.