Honda "Needs to Stay" in IRL

Honda has dropped a major hint that it may stay in the Indy Racing League beyond the end of 2006 - even if it is the only car manufacturer competing in the series

Honda "Needs to Stay" in IRL

General Motors has already announced that it is leaving the category at the end of this year, while Toyota recently confirmed that it too was going to quit the IRL at the end of 2006.

As things stand that could leave Honda as the only engine supplier in 2007 - a scenario that its racing bosses admitted would not be ideal.

But Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Development, has now said that there is a chance the company may decide that it can still benefit from an involvement in the IRL even without major competition.

"It's not my decision, that's what we're discussing internally, but my feeling is that we need to stay - regardless of the scenario," said Clarke in an interview on speedtv.com.

"I feel between CART and the IRL we've made a substantial investment in open wheel racing and to just walk away from that like Toyota seems kind of foolish because you lose all that investment."

Officially, Honda handed its withdrawal notice for the end of 2006 to IRL chiefs last week. However, such action is common practice for manufacturers each year. They then re-apply for entry nine months later to keep their future options open.

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