Club Racer Show – HPD 1.5-liter Honda Fit engine / Interview with Indycar Driver Simona De Silvestro


Honda Performance Development, Inc. 1.5-liter Honda Fit engine

HPD now offers the 1.5-liter Honda Fit engine to racers planning to run in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Formula F competition. The L15A7 engine in FF form is intended to provide open-wheel racers with a modern, fuel-injected design offering superior service life, increased availability and lower operating costs.

As one of the initial offerings in its new grassroots motorsports initiative, Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), the authorized Honda and Acura auto racing company in North America, enters into an SCCA Club Racing program with an eye toward lowering operating costs, while strengthening FF’s position as the first step in American open-wheel racing.

“FF has a tremendous history, here in North America and around the world. Through the ’70s and ’80s, it was THE place for open-wheel racers to ‘cut their racing teeth’,” said Erik Berkman, President of Honda Performance Development. “So many champion drivers, such as our own Jimmy Vasser, Gil de Ferran and Bryan Herta, got their start in FF. Our goal is not to force competitors to make a change, but to make FF more affordable and more competitive.”

The Honda FF engine has been developed by Honda Performance Development in cooperation with Sandy Shamlian of Quicksilver RacEngines. The engine is being developed to equal the performance of the Kent powerplant through utilization of an HPD-developed intake restrictor plate and appropriately mapped Engine Control Unit (ECU). If testing reveals the need for additional performance adjustments, changes can be made to the restrictor plate and/or the ECU maps to achieve this goal. During initial testing, the Honda engine provided performance equal to the long out-of-production “Kent” engine, but featuring a modern fuel-injected design with superior service life, improved availability and lower operating costs.

“Many of us, myself included, have been involved in FF racing,” said Marc Sours, HPD Production Division Manager and Large Project Leader for HPD’s grassroots projects. “We’ve all seen FF engine costs rise and replacement parts become increasingly difficult to locate.

“The result has been a decline in FF participation. We believe that introducing the modern, less-expensive Honda Fit engine can restore interest in and raise the profile of FF to a point where it once again becomes the place for young drivers to begin their careers, and where existing SCCA club racers will find economical, close competition.”

Original equipment in the 2009 Honda Fit, the L15A7 is a fuel-injected, 1.5-liter, overhead cam engine. It is at the beginning of its current production generation, with a minimum of 10 years’ parts support required by law at the conclusion of production.

HPD will supply all necessary parts from intake through exhaust, including the chassis conversion kit. The result will be a modern and reliable engine requiring minimal maintenance and tuning.

Specifically, HPD expects FF competitors to reduce their engine operating costs. Engine rebuilds would be reduced from two per year to one every other year; top-end refreshing would be needed just once a year rather than multiple times per season; both crankshaft and valve- spring life would be extended dramatically; and most ignition and all carburetor maintenance would be eliminated.

The complete Honda FF kit is expected to sell for under $12,000. The package would include a base L15A7 engine, FF race kit (including intake, exhaust, dry sump, restrictor plate and ECU), and a bolt-in chassis kit, to permit installation of the engine without welding or other major modifications. Individual component parts would also be available for purchase separately.

Beginning with its initial entry into Formula One in 1964, Honda has a lengthy record of involvement in open-wheel racing around the world. In addition to its well-known accomplishments in IndyCar, CART and Formula One competition, Honda Motor also has an extensive history as an engine supplier in lower open-wheel formulae, including Formula 3, Formula Master, Formula Nippon and Formula Dream.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era of Honda Performance Development’s participation in, and support for, amateur racers; the first step in what we see as a diverse grassroots racing program,” said Berkman. “All of us at HPD look forward to participating in a variety of racing series and categories and helping the sport we all enjoy grow in prominence and popularity.”

Honda Performance Development (HPD) is Honda’s racing company within North America. Founded in 1993, and located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for Honda and Acura’s high-performance racing cars and engines. In addition to its new grassroots motorsports business, HPD is the single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series and competes in prototype sports-car racing under the Acura banner in the American Le Mans Series.

Quicksilver RacEngines (QSRE) is a private company in Frederick, MD owned and operated by Sandy Shamlian since 1973. QSRE engines have been a staple in open-wheel and sports-car racing, logging countless professional and amateur race wins and championships in the USA, England, Venezuela, Australia & Canada in classes such as Zetec F2000, Formula Continental, Sports 2000, Formula Atlantic, and FF1600.


Interview with Indycar Driver Simona De Silvestro

De Silvestro spent her early career honing her racing skills in Europe. 2003 and 2002 saw the youngster earn a second-place finish in the Trofeo Industria Parma, fifth in Wintercup Lonato and third in Primavera Lonato. She also finished seventh in the Swiss Championship, thirteenth in Kart-Cup Monaco and 2nd in the Bridgestone-Cup Switzerland. In 2004 she raced in the French Formula A Championship and finished fifteenth overall and in 2005 Simona finished twenty first in the Formula Renault 2000 Championship in Italy.

In 2006, Simona crossed the Atlantic over to the United States to pursue her open wheel dreams. That year she completed her first season in the Formula BMW USA championship collecting a victory at Lime Rock, six podiums and eleven top-10 finishes en route to a fourth-place finish in the overall point standings. She also scored two third-place finishes at the U.S. Grand Prix and made history by becoming the first woman to ever earn a podium result at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 2007, as a rookie in the Atlantic Championship, De Silvestro earned two top-10 results and scored championship points in nine of 12 races en route to 19th in the point standings with Walker Racing and followed that up in 2008 when she earned eight top-10 finishes, including her very first win at Long Beach for the Late Paul Newman’s outfit, Newman-Wachs Racing. In 2009 De Silvestro picked up her game and stunned the North American open-wheel world. She would go on to win 4 races in dominant fashion with Team Stargate Worlds. In addition to her wins she also earned 4 pole positions and an extraordinary 9 podium finishes in the 2009 Atlantic Championship Season. Her success was not only impressive but it was also record breaking. De Silvestro, who is often referred as “the Swiss Miss” because of her Swiss upbringing, was the first woman in series history to have earned the most wins, pole positions, and led the most laps all in a single season. At the end of the season De Silvestro also had an extraordinary 9 podium finishes. The results of her effort led to her finishing the season in 3rd place, proving to observers that she is on par to becoming open wheel racing’s next shining star.


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  1. Screenid says:

    I hate and find the music track in the video annoying.

  2. Screenid says:

    The video needs to be re-edited…Take off the annoying music loop.

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