Crash.Net IndyCar News
Honda confirms engine deal for Tagliani
10 May 2012
Bryan Herta Autosport will make it out onto the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - and they'll do it with a Honda engine in the back of Alex Tagliani's DW12 Dallara chassis.
BHA terminated their engine supply deal
with Lotus at the end of last month, without having a confirmed replacement supplier signed up to take over. While it was widely expected that Honda would step into the breach, the formal announcement has been a long time in coming and was finally made on Thursday just two days before Opening Day at Indianapolis.
"We're pleased to be able to renew our relationship with Bryan Herta and his team," said Steve Eriksen, vice president of Honda Performance Development, Honda's American motorsports subsidiary. "Bryan has long been associated with Honda and HPD, and he served as our primary development driver during the last era of IndyCar manufacturer competition."
Under terms of the agreement, HPD will provide its new, turbocharged 2.2-litre Honda Indy V6 engines to BHA's full-time entry for Tagliani for the Indy 500 and for the rest of this year's IZOD IndyCar Series season.
"It is with great personal pleasure that we are returning to the Honda family for the remainder of the 2012 season," responded team owner Bryan Herta. "My time as a Honda driver in both the IndyCar Series, as well as the time spent driving factory Acura LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series, were among my most rewarding and memorable years in racing."
BHA are the defending race winners of the Indianapolis 500 event, after Dan Wheldon drove their car to victory lane following a dramatic last corner climax in 2011. Herta said that the whole team was looking forward to "working to defend last year's memorable and popular win," especially with the extra advantage of having last year's Indy 500 polesitter Alex Tagliani at the wheel.
"I know that Alex Tagliani and the entire Team Barracuda-BHA crew are brimming with confidence and excitement going into the 'Month of May,'" he added.
"His team's victory in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 was the stuff of legend," agreed Eriksen. "All of us at HPD and American Honda are delighted to have a hand in helping him defend that championship."
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which terminated their engine deal with Lotus at the same time as BHA, announced earlier this week that they had entered a strategic alliance with Panther Racing
that sees the two organisations running a co-branded two-car operation together, utilising Chevrolet engines for JR Hildebrand and Oriol Servia.
The situation with Dragon Racing is less clear. Jay Penske's team terminated its relationship with Lotus
at the end of last week in acrimonious circumstances that included the filing of a lawsuit for breach of contract claiming $4.6m in damages.
While Penske's father Roger has close ties with Chevrolet, it's still unknown whether Dragon will be able to sign a deal for Chevy units in time to allow them to field cars for Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge at Indianapolis from this weekend.
Lotus are now left with one full-time IndyCar Series entry - HVM's Simona de Silvestro - but are also behind former F1 driver Jean Alesi appearing in a one-off run
in the Indy 500 with Firestone Indy Lights Series team Fan Force United.