Highcroft Racing’s renowned development skills have been put to good use by team partner Honda Performance Development over the off season.

The back-to-back American Le Man Series championship winning team has been entrusted by HPD to develop its new-for-2011 V6 turbo LMP2 engine.

The team conducted three tests for HPD, the last taking place at the MSR Houston facility in Texas recently.

In total, the team completed more than 2,100 miles on the new HR28TT engine which will be used in LMP2 competition this year by a variety of teams including Level 5 Motorsport in the US and Strakka Racing and RML in Europe.

Highcroft driver Simon Pagenaud was entrusted with much of the development work on the new engine that was installed by Highcroft into last year’s championship winning ARX-01c chassis.

Teammate Marino Franchitti also drove the car in Texas.

This new V6 twin turbo from Honda is quite amazing,” Pagenaud said.

“I have been part of it’s evolution since the first test and it has been a remarkably reliable engine.

“Not only does it cover miles and miles but also the HPD engineers have found more torque and more power at each test we went to.

“We have concentrated our focus mostly on the driveability to make it easy to drive for anyone – this is definitely going to be a serious weapon in LMP2.

“I was glad to be joined by my 2010 teammate Marino Franchitti so he could bring some fresh thoughts on this engine.

“I can’t wait to see the reaction of the fans when they will hear this particular V6 engine noise. This powerplant clearly has the Honda Racing DNA in it.

“If I was to run LMP2 again I would rather have a Honda with me than against me. Good luck to all the Honda powered teams in 2011.”

Highcroft has a long history of development projects for HPD. One of first teams entrusted with factory status at the commencement of the Acura program in 2007, the Danbury, CT-based team also became the official chassis development squad – working hand-in-hand with Wirth Research.

Franchitti was also able to provide valuable input for HPD in Texas. He has driven all three makes which have tasted victory in the LMP2 class in recent years in the US – Porsche, Mazda and HPD.

“It was a real pleasure to join the Highcroft team, HPD and my team mate Simon for first test of the new year, and to experience the new LMP2 power plant first hand,” Franchitti said.

“It also allowed me to blow the cobwebs off after the long winter break since our victory at Petit Le Mans and drive in both the dry and wet.

“The Highcroft team have done a first class job of the instillation of the new motor and HPD have produced a strong package that has great drivability and is improving every run we do. We also covered more than 1000 trouble free miles over two days which is outstanding.

“I’m sure the LMP2 customers who are competing with HPD this year will be delighted when they get the chance to try the new V6 twin turbo for themselves and I wish them all the best for the coming season.”

HPD also recently completed a 4000 mile durability dyno test at its headquarters in Santa Clarita in California.

The 2.8 liter V6 turbo engine is now set to make its race debut at the opening round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron – the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 19.

“I’m very happy with the results of the off-season testing completed to date with Highcroft Racing,” Honda Performance Development Project Leader, Allen Miller said.

“The Highcroft guys did an excellent job with the installation which has allowed us to run over 2100 trouble free miles while our race engineers worked on tuning and improving engine performance.

“Our new HR28TT engine is a joint effort of HPD and Honda R&D in Ohio, the first time the two companies have worked together on an engine development project.

“The results have been great. Engine performance and reliability on the dyno and on track have been just as expected. I feel we have an engine ready to go for the 2011 ALMS and LMS race seasons.”

source http://www.americanlemans.com

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