Honda Performance Development (HPD) has joined with Honda Motor Company, Ltd., to offer a scholarship program to the Super Formula Championship for the winner of the 2021 Formula Regional Americas series.
The FIA-supported Formula Regional Americas Championship provides talented young racers the opportunity to develop their skills in a state-of-the-art open-wheel chassis powered by the latest version of the iconic Honda Civic Type-R power plant.
The internationally-respected Super Formula series is the top level of open-wheel racing in Japan, featuring high downforce Dallara chassis powered by engines making in excess of 500hp. Successful graduates of Super Formula include Pierre Gasly and Honda-powered IndyCar driver Alex Palou, who was a race winner, championship contender and series Rookie of the Year in 2019.
“What an amazing scholarship” said Chip Ganassi Racing driver Palou, who moved to the NTT IndyCar Series last year after a season in Super Formula in 2019. “I’m sure it’s going to be the strongest and most successful scholarship, and it’s much needed for so many drivers nowadays. The racing level in the Super Formula series is really high and demanding for a driver. You can then use all that experience in IndyCar.
“I’ve been lucky enough to get to experience the highest level of racing in Japan and now in the U.S., and I can’t thank enough Honda, Dale Coyne and Team Goh for the amazing opportunity of becoming an IndyCar driver, now with Chip Ganassi at the highest level. I’m now facing the best moment of my career driving for the most successful team in the championship. I can’t wait to share track with the next Honda Scholarship Champion!”
Supporting the next generation of racing talent is a fundamental value of HPD. As a committed partner to the F4 U.S. Championship, the FR Americas Championship and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, HPD and Honda Motor are proud to expand their support for the FR Americas champion to include the scholarship value of up to $600,000 for participation in the 2022 Super Formula series.
“I am very pleased with this new program as it is a collaboration between HPD and Honda Motor for a true global driver development program,” said John Whiteman, HPD Commercial Motorsports Manager. “This past year, Alex Palou demonstrated that Super Formula can fully prepare a driver for IndyCar racing success. Progressing from Formula Regional Americas to Super Formula can be a clear, fully Honda-powered path to IndyCar.
“The Formula Regionals America champion earns 18 FIA Super License points, and the Super Formula champion earns 25. Winning both titles will prepare a driver to compete in IndyCar and earn enough Super License points to exceed the 40 required for Formula 1.”
Promoted by Parella Motorsports Holdings, LLC, FR Americas is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and features the spec JS F3 chassis designed and sold by Ligier Automotive in North Carolina, which meets the most advanced global FIA safety specifications, including the first North American application of a race car Halo. The car, running on Hankook tires, is powered by a 303-horsepower Honda Performance Development version of the Honda Civic Type-R turbocharged K20C1 motor.
The FR Americas Championship aligns with the global FIA development ladder philosophy of using common components to provide a cost-efficient, reliable, and powerful racing structure as drivers ascend through the levels on their way to U.S. or global racing success.
“We are so excited that the 2021 FR Americas champion will receive such an unprecedented opportunity from Honda and HPD,” said PMH President and CEO Tony Parella. “We look forward to growing our partnership with HPD to continue to develop drivers at a grassroots level.”
The 18-race FR Americas calendar will feature iconic venues across the United States and Canada. The official 2021 FR Americas season commences at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta March 26-28.