Honda engine breaks cover in test

Honda's first Indy Racing League engine hit the track for the first time last week at the Homestead oval in Miami

Honda engine breaks cover in test

Young Briton Daniel Wheldon was behind the wheel of an Andretti Green Dallara fitted with the HI3R Indy V8, managing 400 miles without any major problems. The 24-year-old has signed as the team's test driver and could race if team boss Michael Andretti retires after next year's Indianapolis 500.

"We were very pleased with the outcome of this test, achieving all of our goals for this initial shakedown in a relatively short period of time," said Robert Clarke, general manager of Honda Performance Development. "This is just the first step in an exciting new programme for Honda, and we're already looking forward to the start of the 2003 season."

Both Honda and Andretti Green have switched from the rival CART Championship Series to the IRL for 2003. The V8 has been built and devloped jointly between HPD and engine specialist Ilmor Engineering.

"We're very, very happy," Andretti Green co-owner Kim Green said of the test. "The engine appears to be very good, and I'd say that Honda and Ilmor have done an excellent job. Our goal here at Homestead was to put together a series of long runs, and give Honda and Ilmor as much data as possible. I also think Dan's done an excellent job, he's been quick and consistent throughout, providing good information back to the team."

Testing will continue through the off-season, with the Honda HI3R making its competition debut at the 2003 IRL season opener at Homestead on March 2.

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