Honda readies for Red Bull GRC debut

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This weekend, the new Honda Civic Coupe debuts in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series with the Olsbergs MSE team.

Here’s its event preview along with a couple social clips:

The Honda Civic, 2016 North American Car of the Year, will be making its Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship debut in the first and second rounds at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona, May 20-22.

Developed from a production-model 2016 Honda Civic Coupe, the Red Bull Civics will make their way around the 12 turn, .929-mile asphalt and dirt circuit, prepared by championship-winning team Olsbergs MSE with technical assistance from Honda Performance Development. Behind the wheel, experienced drivers Joni Wiman and Sebastian Eriksson will give fans and Civic enthusiasts a neoteric look at motorsports.

Honda’s commitment to the Supercar category will showcase the 600 horsepower Civic Coupe’s acceleration from 0-60 mph in less than two seconds, as well as its aggression, airing table-top jumps in excess of 70 feet, all while battling competitors in door-to-door, heat-style racing targeted at young, performance-minded audiences.

Honda’s entry into Red Bull GRC is the latest in a diverse portfolio of North American professional and grassroots auto racing programs supported by Honda that include the Verizon IndyCar Series, WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge, United States F4 Championship, Formula Lites and multiple Touring car and Rally Car series.

The first and second rounds of the 2016 season kick off on Friday, with practice and qualifications. On Saturday, heat races for the first round will commence at 11:50 a.m. (EST, are we sure of the time?) with the finals taking place at 4:25 p.m. On Sunday, the finals of the second race take place at 3:05 p.m., with live coverage beginning at 2 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.

QUOTES:

Joni Wiman (No. 31 Honda Red Bull OMSE): “I think Phoenix will be an interesting track, with the joker lap being a longer way around the track. There are some good passing opportunities, as well. Racing in the Civic will be great, too. I know the guys at the shop have been really working hard getting the car dialed in, and it’s been a lot of fun testing this offseason. We’ll be looking for some redemption in 2016.”

Sebastian Eriksson (No. 93 Honda Red Bull OMSE): “There is a lot of momentum for the team and me going into this season. Coming off a consistent season last year, I think I understand how to race in the series now, with the points championship in mind. With this being a doubleheader weekend, it’s going to be crucial to have consistency and pace early on. Debuting a new manufacturer in the series will be awesome, too. I know everyone from Red Bull to the OMSE guys and Honda are stoked to see the Civic on track against competition.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.