Thursday, December 17, 2015

HPD committed to development of the open wheel stars of tomorrow

Honda Performance Development (HPD) demonstrated their commitment to the development of future open-wheel racers at the PRI (Performance Racing Industry) 2015 show by displaying the company’s two quarter midget racing engines. Honda Performance Development established in 1993, is the United States based racing arm of Honda with over 150 employees at two locations in Santa Clarita California and Brownsburg Indiana.   
courtesy of USAC
Honda makes on-track competition accessible through affordable products and a racer support program in open-wheel, short-track, and touring-series racing.  Honda has developed a system known as “The Honda Racing Ladder” which powers a racer’s passions at nearly any level of the sport. Honda is the title sponsor of the United States Auto Club's 1/4 midget national championship.

Photo courtesy of HPD

Quarter midgets, which as the name implies are about ¼ the size of a regular midget race car, date back to before World War II highlighted by tiny cars built in the nineteen thirties by Indianapolis race car builder ‘Pop’ Dreyer and the series of cars produced by Maytag Incorporated known as ‘Maytag Racers’ powered  by the same one-cylinder “Multi-Motor” that powered the company’s washing machines.  As popular as quarter midget racing was before the War, the sport exploded in the nineteen fifties, with nearly 40 manufacturers, and in 1957, 17 tracks and 3000 registered drivers in Northern California alone. Modern-day race drivers who graduated from quarter midgets include Jeff Gordon, Sarah Fisher, Joey Logano, and Brad Keselowski.

Photo by the author

HPD offers two quarter midget engines; both are air-cooled single cylinder four stroke design with a single camshaft operating two valves per cylinder. The engine block is forged steel while the piston is forged aluminum and 91 octane unleaded gasoline is fed through a carburetor and sparked by a magneto. The only difference between the engines is the displacement; the engine of the left is 120 CC (cubic centimeters) while the larger engine on the right displaces 160 CC.  
Photo courtesy of HPD
With these Honda Performance  Development racing engines there is not telling how far the future racing stars of tomorrow can move up the racing ladder, to Honda-powered  midgets, Formula Lites, or perhaps even INDYCAR.

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