In 2012, Honda Performance Development announced two new models of their sports prototypes including the ARX-03a for LMP1 racing. Other than the updated bodywork, 03a is similar to its ARX-01e predecessor both inside and out.
Like the ARX-01e, the updated ARX-03a uses the HPD LM-V8 which Honda began producing in 2007 under the Acura banner. They also describe this engine as the HPD-LM-AR6.
The bodywork is modified slightly from the outgoing model to include mandatory openings at the top of the wheel wells and the 1020 mm center shark fin. Both these devices have been implemented by the ACO to keep the cars from becoming airborn. The front and rear clips have also been modified to change the aerodynamics.
Wirth Research is responsible for producing the carbon fiber chassis which can trace its roots back to the Courage LC75 and previous ARX versions.
For 2012 the ARX-03a will be campaigned by Muscle Milk Pickett Racing in ALMS while Strakka Racing and JRM with both use the car in the World Endurance Championship (WEC).
In 2012, HPD will support seven customer-lease programs in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and the new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This represents the high-water mark of Honda’s involvement in the pinnacle of sports-car racing competition, and the opportunity to showcase the HPD brand before a worldwide audience. In the WEC, Strakka Racing and JRM Racing will campaign the new-for-2012 HPD ARX-03a in the LMP1 class and Starworks Motorsport will enter the LMP2 class with its new-for-2012 HPD ARX-03b chassis. In the ALMS, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing will compete in LMP1 with its HPD ARX-03a chassis and will be joined by the returning Level 5 Motorsports with its pair of HPD ARX-03b prototypes, and by Black Swan Racing with its HPD-powered Lola coupe. The ARX-03a will utilize HPD’s 3.4L normally aspirated LM-V8 engine and the ARX-03b chassis will feature HPD’s HR28TT twin turbo 2.8L V6 production-based power plant. Strakka Racing, JRM Racing, Level 5 Motorsports and Starworks Motorsport have all accepted invitations to compete in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 16-17.