Seen on various race tracks all over the world since 2012, in both LMP1 and LMP2 specifications, Honda ’s ARX-03 prototype will retire at the end of the 2014 season. The news comes straight from Honda Performance Development (HPD), who has announced that a new iteration will be introduced for 2015.
To roll out under the ARX-04b name, the LMP2 racer is built on the same successful HPD recipe, and comes with the HR28TT engine under its lightweight hood. The 2.8-liter, V6 unit is based on the J35 engine found in many Acura road vehicles and relies on a pair of turbochargers for extra oomph.
As with many motorsport updates, the new racer features a lighter body, improved aerodynamics and a gearbox that can be tweaked to support many track configurations. The fuel tank, which benefits from Honda’s innovative refueling safety interlock system, now has a capacity of 75 liters (19.8 gallons).
Naturally, the race car was built with the latest ACO LMP2 and IMSA regulations in mind, including a cost-capped chassis, and will be eligible for all competitions governed by the said bodies. Just like its predecessor, the ARX-04b was co-developed by HPD and U.K.-based Wirth Research, a technical joint-venture that has spawned numerous IndyCar, American Le Mans and World Endurance Championship achievements.
Customers that will rely on the ARX-04b LMP2 starting next season will also benefit from HPD’s technical assistance, simulator sessions and data-logging options, along with other additional features that will be available for purchase.
Click past the jump to read more about the Honda Performance Development ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe.
The Ford Riley Daytona Prototype made its race debut this year, when both Chip Ganassi Racing and Michael Shank Racing decided to go with the EcoBoost power provided by the Blue Oval company.
Developed in cooperation with Riley Technologies, who supplied the chassis and many other vital components, the race car is motivated by a 3.5-liter, V-6 unit. Besides taking care of engine development, Ford also created the lightweight body, with production designer Garen Nicoghosian and Ford Racing chief of aerodynamics Bernie Marcus in charge of the project.
Before it made its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January, the Ford Riley Prototype has set two speed world records on the said track, hitting 210.018 mph in 10 miles from a standing start and 202.438 mph in 10 km from a standing start.
Additionally, the EcoBoost-propelled race car reached a top speed of 222.971 mph, shattering the 26-year-old record held by NASCAR driver Bill Elliot.
Honda Performance Development will offer customer teams around the world the very latest in LMP2 closed-cockpit sports car technology next year, with the unveiling of its new HPD ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe.
The new design is a result of the continuing teamwork between California-based HPD and England’s Wirth Research. This technical pairing has already proved to be a winning combination, with success in INDYCAR, the American Le Mans Series and the FIA World Endurance Championship, including LMP2 and LMP1 Privateer class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The ARX-04b sports car is fully compliant with the new ACO LMP2 regulations, and exceeds the latest safety standards of the new enclosed-cockpit configuration. The proven 2.8-liter twin-turbo, direct injection, production-based Honda HR28TT V6 powerplant now includes a regulation compliant drive-by-wire throttle system and fresh air valve system, eliminating turbo lag and providing improved reliability and performance.
"We are very excited for our new HPD ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe to see the light of day, combining all of our successes in international sportscar racing with the very latest regulations for closed-cockpit prototypes," said Steve Eriksen, HPD vice president and COO. "Our production-based Honda HR28TT engine has powered all of our LMP2 sportscars since the ACO regulations set the new cost-capped direction in 2011, and since its introduction the 2.8-litre twin-turbo V6 powerplant has achieved some truly great successes around the world – including multiple engine manufacturer championships, victory at the Sebring 12 Hours and the 24 Hour of Le Mans, as well as powering the first LMP2 FIA World Endurance Champion. We are confident that our latest iteration of the HR28TT engine and its associated systems will satisfy even the most discriminating drivers and power the new HPD ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe to even greater successes around the world."
Additional features of the ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe include:
Energy-efficient technology with low drag and high fuel efficiency.
A cost-capped chassis, fully compliant with ACO and IMSA regulations and designed to compete and win the toughest endurance races in the world.
"Quick Change" front and rear bodywork.
Innovative Honda refueling safety interlock system designed to reduce the potential for pit fires resulting from leaving the pit box with fuel hoses inserted (applied to all IndyCars since 2011)
Engine installation includes a proven turbo mounting system and top exit exhaust, meeting all ACO and IMSA noise regulations.
Gearbox changes which can be made to cover the complete range of circuits.
A 75-litre total capacity fuel cell, and lightweight, durable bodywork.
The ARX-04b will continue the HR28TT powerplant, developed by HPD from the production Honda "J35" series of V6 engines currently found in the Acura MDX and RLX in North America, in addition to the upcoming 2015 Acura TLX. The racing engine continues to use more than 400 production engine parts, including the engine block and heads, crankshaft, direct-injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire hardware and even the stock Honda oil filter.
As part of their after-sales support services, HPD and Wirth will provide teams with technical assistance and bulletins, as well as additional options available for purchase. Additional bespoke options include driver-in-the-loop simulator sessions, data-logging, race and performance engineering, and MuRiTyre and Apotheca software.
"Wirth Research is proud of its history of consistently creating championship-winning prototype sports cars with and on behalf of Honda Performance Development (HPD). Using our pioneering CFD design techniques, we have created the all-new HPD ARX-04b LMP2 Coupe," said Wirth Research President Nick Wirth. "Not only is it a stunning-looking race car, we are confident that our revolutionary all-digital design approach will ensure that HPD’s 2015 LMP2 Coupe customers will benefit from fielding the most aero-efficient, balanced and competitive LMP2 car on the 2015 grid."
Wirth Research has been at the forefront of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in high-level motorsports for almost a decade, and has played an indispensable role in the overwhelming success of ARX sports cars.