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Honda signs up Sam Schmidt team for 2012

Series engine supplier Honda has announced that Sam Schmidt Motorsports will be the third team running its engines in 2012, when Chevrolet and Lotus join the series as rivals.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) has confirmed that Sam Schmidt Motorsports is the third team to sign on with it for engines in 2012.

"Honda's success both on and off the track is unmatched," team owner Sam Schmidt said at the announcement. "I believe its total commitment to performance, reliability and integrity as a company is perfectly aligned with the goals of Sam Schmidt Motorsports and its partners.

"We look forward to what we hope will be a long and very productive relationship."

The deal covers all Sam Schmidt Motorsports entries in the 2012 IndyCar season as well as any additional entries run for the Indianapolis 500. This weekend, the team will field Alex Tagliani in the #77 and Martin Plowman in his series d├ębut in the #17 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Honda is currently the sole engine supplier to IndyCar, but from 2012 with the introduction of a new specification of turbocharged 2.2-litre Honda Indy V-6 engine, there will be competition to supply teams from Chevrolet and Lotus.

Honda are still thought to be the favourite choice of most teams - not least because of there years of exclusive experience in IndyCar racing - and so far they have signed deals with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in May and last month with AJ Foyt Racing.

Chevrolet have signed up Ganassi's arch rivals Team Penske, with Roger Penske one of the prime movers in bringing the engine makers back to the series. Lotus have yet to announce any signings, with even the co-branded KV Racing Technology-Lotus team thought to be unlikely to go with Lotus engines in the first year of supplier competition.

Erik Berkman, president of HPD, spoke warmly of Sam Schimidt's "decade of achievements - and four championships - in Indy Lights," and "impressive results" since stepping up to the senior series full time earlier this year after several seasons of fielding stand-alone Indianapolis 500 entries. The team put Alex Tagliani on pole position for this year's Indy 500 in May.

"We believe that Sam, team manager Rob Edwards and the rest of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team have established a solid foundation for future success," said Berkman. "We look forward to working with them to achieve our joint goals of race wins and IndyCar Series championships."

The new Honda engine will be the first power unit to be ready for next season and will be used in the on-track testing of the series' new Dallara chassis and safety cell which starts next week at Mid-Ohio, to be undertaken by Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport.



Related Pictures

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Sam Schmidt, owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports, the team that put Alex Tagliani on pole position for the 2011 Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 21. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Alex Tagliani gets ready in the cockpit of his #77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports ahead of the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway - June 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fifth fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Montoya is leading the Driver`s Championship in points heading into this final race of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Sam Cobb/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, August 29, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Power, the 2014 Champion Driver, has an outside chance to repeat during this final race of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his Andretti Autosport Honda on pit lane prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia is strapped into his Andretti Autosport Honda prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal sits in his Honda machine on pit lane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia is strapped into his Andretti Autosport Honda prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power slides into his Team Penske Chevrolet prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
The Chevrolet of Will Power sports a tribute sticker for Justin Wilson at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to a third place finish Sunday, August 22, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya will start the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course next weekend with a 34-point advantage in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden, driver of the #67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his second place finish Sunday, August 22, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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