Even as he focuses on his blossoming IndyCar career with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, with whom he scored his first career win earlier this month at Detroit's Belle Isle, Simon Pagenaud is also looking forward to making his Pikes Peak International Hill Climb debut. The Frenchman will compete at the 91st edition of the storied race on June 30, driving a 532 horsepower, turbocharged Honda Odyssey minivan (ABOVE) in the Exhibition Automobile division as part of Honda's record-setting 11-vehicle, nine-class effort in America's second-oldest motorsports event.
“This is something I'm really looking forward to,” said Pagenaud. “I've done a little bit of rallying in France, and I used to watch highlights of the Pikes Peak race on television as a kid. Our entry will be unique, to say the least! A Honda Odyssey with power similar to an IndyCar will raise some eyebrows, for sure! But with the preparation it is getting from Team Honda Research, it will be a proper racecar, and I'm very excited about it.”
Pagenaud's versatility has been a hallmark of his career. He has raced everything from Indy cars and HPD-powered sports prototypes to a Honda Fit B-Spec racer and Honda-powered Formula F. When not at an American race circuit, he can often be found managing his French-based racing school.
With support from Honda's North American motorsports and R&D companies – Honda Performance Development and Honda R&D Americas, Inc. – the company will campaign a broad range of Honda and Acura vehicles, motorcycles and ATVs at Pikes Peak. Pagenaud's Odyssey was originally developed for competition by associates at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama.
Modifications include a turbocharged, intercooled 3.5-liter V6 engine; 6-speed transmission and limited-slip differential from the Acura TL product line; racing suspension and brakes, including 19-inch BBS wheels equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires; and a full competition roll cage.