A.J. Foyt Racing and Honda will continue their partnership for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season, the team announced Tuesday.
A.J. Foyt's squad joins Honda's “anchor team,” Chip Ganassi Racing, as confirmed teams for the manufacturer as engine competition returns to next year's grid. Figuring Ganassi will still run four cars, two for the Target side and two for the satellite team, the Foyt announcement increases that number to either five or six confirmed Honda-powered cars for 2012.
Foyt raised the possibility he will field a second car full time and said it was something they are actively working on, coupled with the continuation of sponsorship from long-time backer ABC Supply Co. The team's second car in past years has only raced at the Indianapolis 500.
“Vitor (Meira) realizes that he'll have to run a little harder with the young blood, if we do get the opportunity to put a second car together,” Foyt said of his driver. “We have talked to about three or four drivers there.”
Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman said the number could grow to seven confirmed Honda cars in a short period of time.
“I think he answered about the second car… he says he's working on it and we hope he can do good by it,” Berkman said. “We can service up to 40 percent of the field. Not to say you can't go beyond, but the pressure might be put on to supply more people. But it's our intention to not go over that. We don't want to stack the teams with 50-plus percent of the field.
“Forty percent out of 25 cars is 10, and we don't want to rush to those cars. You can expect another announcement fairly soon, that will get us to about seven. The eighth, ninth and 10th won't fill up just yet. I've been telling them all, ‘Hang on there, there's time yet.' We don't know Lotus as they haven't done their first team, and Chevy's only announced Penske.”
The announcement confirms Foyt and Honda stay together as they have since 2006, when Honda first supplied the entire field. The team ran both Toyotas and Chevrolets in 2005 for Foyt's grandson A.J. Foyt IV.
“We had a good thing with Honda because we got to get back to victory circle,” Foyt said. “We used to beat (Penske and Ganassi), why not do so again?”