Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Honda shipping Fit engines for race cars

Honda Performance Development recently began shipping 1.5-liter Honda Fit engines to racers planning to run the engine in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Formula F competition. Through its introduction to the category, HPD hopes to strengthen FF's position as the first step in American open-wheel auto racing.

The initial batch of fuel-injected Honda L15A7 overhead-cam engines was shipped to competitors who had previously secured their orders via cash deposit. The Fit engine can be adapted for installation in existing FF chassis.

"This is an exciting day for all of us at HPD," said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development. "We hope that this foundational step in our grassroots motorsports initiative will help grow the FF class by making it more affordable and competitive."

The Honda FF engine was developed by HPD in cooperation with Maryland-based Quicksilver RacEngines. The engine was developed to equal the performance of the traditional Kent power plant through utilization of an intake restrictor plate and appropriately mapped Engine Control Unit (ECU), as confirmed during comparative testing with representative Kent engines under SCCA supervision. Final track output will be mandated by the SCCA through its restrictor determination.

Honda-powered FFs are approved for SCCA competition effective March 1, 2010.

Developed from the current Honda Fit, introduced in 2009, the L15A7 engine in FF form is intended to provide open-wheel racers with a modern, fuel-injected design offering superior service life, increased availability and lower operating costs. Engine rebuilds will be reduced, with a corresponding reduction in the need for top-end refreshing. In addition, crankshaft and valve-spring life should be extended dramatically; and most ignition and all carburetor maintenance will be eliminated.

"Many of us at HPD, myself included, have been involved in FF racing," said Marc Sours, HPD Production Division Manager and Large Project Leader for HPD's grassroots effort. "We believe in the class and want to see it grow in popularity. With the delivery of this first batch of Honda FF engines, and future orders, we are hoping to increase participation through economical competition."

Honda Fit race engines can be purchased as a complete package, including a base L15A7 engine and FF engine conversion kit (including intake, exhaust, dry sump, lightweight alternator, restrictor plate and ECU). Individual component parts will also be available for purchase separately.

HPD also offers chassis kits for three of the most popular FF designs: the Swift DB-1, Swift DB-6 and Van Diemen RF99-09 models. Several current race-car manufacturers, including Fast Forward Components (Piper) and Citation Engineering, offer FF chassis ready to accept the Fit engine.

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