Honda Performance Development will step up to the LMP1 class with a car designed specifically for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
The former works Acura group and Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth's research operation have developed a version of the successful LMP2 class ARX-01 for sports car racing's top level. The ARX-01e is based on the existing ARX-01c LMP2 car, but has been revised to 2011 LMP1 regulations with bigger tires and CFD-developed aerodynamics.
HPD and Wirth Research have also produced a new LMP2 version, the ARX-01d, for the latest class rules. The 3.4-liter normally-aspirated V8 has been replaced with a 2.8-liter twin turbocharged V6, built by HPD.
"The introduction of the HPD ARX-01e – the first car we have designed specifically for Le Mans – gives us a realistic chance of scoring an even more impressive outright result at the 24 Hours," said Wirth. "We have taken full advantage of the flexibility and efficiency offered by advanced CFD technologies to develop our hugely successful sports car program in two different directions. And with the HPD ARX-01d, we are confident we have developed a car capable of taking over where its predecessor left off and thus remaining the dominant force in the LMP2 category."
The HPD ARX-01c won last year's American Le Mans Series title with Highcroft Racing and the LMP2 class title at Le Mans with Strakka Racing.