Effective January 1, a newly formed Honda Racing Corporation US—HRC US for short—will work alongside the company’s Japanese motorsports arm to spearhead all of Honda’s racing activities worldwide. This is a radical change from the longstanding separation between Honda Performance Development, which led North American racing activities, and HRC, which handled Japan and the rest of the world. The new arrangement eliminates some of the red tape HPD faced when wanting to compete on the global stage, opening the door for a joint return to the FIA World Endurance Championship, and therefore, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"We [HPD] have been asked to contribute to global motorsport," HPD President Dave Salters told The Drive in a media roundtable. "Not everything has been decided but we are excited about the opportunities in F1 and possibly WEC. We will promote Honda and Acura here, there, and everywhere."
As Salters told us back in February, one of the biggest reasons HPD's IMSA race-winning ARX-06 couldn't follow BMW, Cadillac, and Porsche to Le Mans was because Acura had to "concentrate in the U.S." and it was up to Honda to "make the decision regarding other markets like Europe, Japan, etc."
By combining both groups, the new global HRC merges two bodies with incredible resources that can undoubtedly build a WEC and Le Mans winner. HRC in Japan has been in large part responsible for Red Bull Racing's success over the last few years, while HPD's dominance in IMSA and IndyCar made for a well-rounded team on this side of the pond, as well.
However, when asked specifically about fielding a Hypercar for WEC, Salters, a former Ferrari and McLaren Formula 1 engineer, explained that the 2024 racing season is out of the question.
"We have no definite time scale at the moment but we are evaluating it seriously," said Salters. "We could rule out a program in 2024. That is too soon."
HRC was established in 1982 to support Honda's motorcycle racing efforts in the World Grand Prix, which later evolved into MotoGP. This expanded to Superbike, Supercross, World Trial, Paris-Dakar Rally, and of course, Formula 1, where it has seen tremendous success as of late. HPD, on the other hand, was established in 1993 to support Indy racing through its various iterations as well as Acura's motorsport ventures, while also expanding to IMSA, Baja, and other categories.
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