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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]
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda in pit lane on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates after qualifying fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, winning the pole for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon will be joined in the front row by Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest, and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden showing the absence of the centerline wicker on the Chevrolet car on course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Thursday May 14 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia showing the retained centerline wicker on the Honda car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice on Thursday May 14 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)

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