The evolution from factory to
customer programs is the story of
Honda Performance Development’s
six years in sports car racing since
2007. Under the Acura brand
name, the ARX series of P1 and P2
chassis achieved significant results,
before a change in strategy shifted
the program’s name and emphasis
to HPD and customer teams.
The new-for-2012 ARX-03 uses
a common tub for the 3.4-liter,
V8-powered 03a P1 car and the
2.8-liter, turbo V6 03b P2 car.
Already, it’s running with five teams
in ALMS and WEC, with Starworks
Motorsport taking its 03b to a P2
win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
That, along with Muscle Milk’s
ALMS P1 dominance would alone
seem to justify the 03’s introduction,
but HPD’s assistant vice president
Steve Eriksen explains that there
were pragmatic reasons, too.
“The last piece of the [01 series]
car that was still a Courage-supplied
part was the tub,” he says. “Given
Dorsal fins designed
to raise the speed at
which a prototype
could get airborne are
mandatory on cars
built to current P1
and P2 regulations.
CUT IT OUT
Helping out the fin
are the cutouts on top
of the wheel arches,
which will help vent
air and reduce lift if
a car tries to fly.
Unlike the Acura
famously ran rear tires
at the front, the 03a
runs standard fronts,
removing the need for
Aerodynamics of ARX-03b
continue to be wholly CFD based.
“More can be done in the digital
domain, and the dependability of
results through CFD has
overtaken conventional half-scale
wind tunnel testing,” says HPD
assistant vp Steve Eriksen.