Honda Extend IRL Commitment

Honda will continue to supply engines to the IRL series until the end of 2009, the Japanese manufacturer announced today

Honda Extend IRL Commitment

Engine maker Chevrolet will be leaving the series at the end of this season, while Toyota announced that it would withdraw from IRL at the end of 2006.

Honda was, for some time, speculated to leave the sport as well - but Honda Performance Development president Robert Clarke said today in a press conference at the California Speedway that his company has extended its contract with IRL for additional three more years.

"Racing is ingrained in our culture and is the foundation of our associate and technology development," Clarke said. "Because of its need - or desire - to race and because we're here in the American market, we want to race in the premier series in open-wheel racing.

"Honda originally elected to compete in the IRL because we recognized the series as the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in this country."

Asked if Honda was prepared to be the sole engine provider, Clarke said the company would support the entire Indianapolis 500 field - the largest starting list of the IRL season. But Clarke said that Honda would further work with IRL organisers to build value, "which in turn will attract, we believe, more competitors and sponsors."

"We welcome competition, although we understand that we may be the only manufacturer involved in the near-term. We're OK with that."

Honda has dominated the IRL in the last couple of years, the engine manufacturer winning the IRL Championship in 2004 and 2005, as well as the Indy 500 race in both years.

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