Sebring 12 Hour Results a Mixed Bag for Honda

Honda Riley Daytona Prototype

The 2014 running of the Sebring 12 hour race marked the first running of the recently-completed HPD Riley Daytona Prototype race car. Honda being Honda, big things were expected from the twin-turbo V6 powered Riley squad, but the team was eventually sidelined after completing just 26 laps of the (eventually) 291 lap event. In marked contrast, the Honda-powered Extreme Speed / Tequila Patrón entries fought its way to a class win and a 2nd place finish overall, ending up just ahead of a Corvette team that, at the 24 hours of Daytona a few weeks ago, looked totally dominant.

What happened!?

First off, it’s worth noting that the Honda Riley team was a customer team. What that means is that Honda sold engines to the team, who then fitted them to a Riley chassis- it wasn’t an “all Honda” factory effort, as is made clear by this quote in Honda’s pre-Sebring press release. “This is a great opportunity for HPD and our customer teams in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship,” said Steve Eriksen, HPD vice president and COO. “Adding a Daytona Prototype effort alongside the proven HPD-Honda chassis and engine combination in LMP2 provides Honda with a strong and balanced attack in the inaugural TUDOR Championship.”

That is a very diplomatic way of saying “Look, guys- we just sold them the engine. We’ll sell you one, too.”

That engine, by the way, is a twin-turbocharged “IMSA” version of Honda’s production J35 engine. The same J35 that’s offered in various forms across the Honda and Acura lineups in vehicles like the Honda V6 Accord and Odyssey minivan. In race trim, that J35 looks like this …

Honda HPD IMSA twin-turbo V6

… and if that twin-turbocharged beastie don’t do it for you, you should really consider trying Cialis. Or maybe Viagra. Or one of those pumps.

Despite the DP class team’s lack of progress at the 2014 Sebring 12 hour, though, it’s clear that the HPD engine is one of the more powerful and dependable units out there. In the right hands, of course- and it seems like those hands all work at Extreme Speed / Tequila Patrón racing and run the LMP class like professionals. You can get a sense of what their “longest half day of sports car racing” looked like, below.


Sources | Photos: Honda, ESM Racing.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.