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Honda's Clarke to retire next year

Robert Clarke will retire from Honda Performance Development in June after moving to an advisory role on January 1

Clarke, the president of HPD, has been with Honda for 27 years and has been the guiding force behind HPD since its inception in 1993.

He led Honda to four manufacturers' championships in CART and directed the company's move to the Indy Racing League in 2003.

Clarke will be replaced by Erik Berkman, a 25-year veteran of Honda who currently serves as an executive engineer with Honda R&D Americas Inc.

In its first three years of IndyCar competition against multiple manufacturers, Honda won two Indianapolis 500s, two manufacturers' championships and 28 races.

Honda became the single engine supplier to the IndyCar series in 2006, and made history in both the 2006 and 2007 Indy 500 races by supplying the entire 33-car fields without a single engine failure - the only two such instances in the 91-year history of the event.

Clarke also oversaw Honda's entry into sports-car racing when the Acura fleet debuted this year in American Le Mans Series.

Berkman, a 25-year veteran of Honda, has worked on a variety of projects in Honda's Ohio plants, including the development of the Accord wagon in 1991, Honda R&D's first U.S.-designed and developed vehicle, and two other successful American projects, the Acura CL and Acura TL.

From January 1 to June 30 when he retires, Clarke will serve a new executive advisory role.

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