Powering next-gen talent: Honda Performance Development in F4 U.S. and FR Americas

Powering next-gen talent: Honda Performance Development in F4 U.S. and FR Americas

It takes talent, focus and determination for any young driver to reach the top levels of motorsport, but a proven and effective path to lead them there is essential, too.

That’s why the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FRA) and F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4) are so important in developing the next generation of elite-level racers.

Both categories were conceived by motorsport’s international governing body, the FIA, to help fast-track burgeoning talents to racing’s pinnacle championships. F4 (above) is an entry-level category offering young drivers an opportunity to make the move up from karting into open-wheel racing and to demonstrate their skills on an international platform, while keeping affordability and safety as key elements of the program.

Continuing that mission, FRA (below) provides the next step up the ladder, delivering increased power and performance to help accelerate a driver’s learning curve and prepare them to grow and succeed in the higher levels of motorsports.

Honda is an innovative mobility powerhouse with deep roots in racing, and supporting the next generation of racing talent is a core commitment of Honda Performance Development (HPD), which leads all of Honda and Acura’s high-performance racing programs in North America. As a partner to F4 and FRA, HPD and Honda Motor support both championships in multiple ways.

Both series’ spec, Ligier Automotive-built racecars are powered by HPD-modified versions of the MY22 Honda Civic Type R 2-liter, 4-cylinder, street-car engine, with FRA using a turbocharged, 303hp edition and F4 a naturally-aspirated, 160hp version.

In addition, HPD supports the champions from both series with significant scholarships and initiatives designed to keep them moving toward their ultimate goals.

The 2022 FRA champion will receive a scholarship valued at up to $600,000, as well as an engine-supply agreement for participation in the 2023 Super Formula Championship, the Japan-based open-wheel series that includes 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champ Alex Palou as a recent graduate.

“The Super Formula Championship scholarship is something we are incredibly excited about,” says John Whiteman, HPD’s manager of commercial motorsports. “Given the quality of the champions produced by FRA, we wanted to reward them with a prize at an appropriate level for their continuing growth. Honda Motor is excited about this, too, and they will be key in picking the Super Formula team our champion races with, and in helping guide them to be in the best position for success.”

The FRA champ will earn a 2023 scholarship to race in Japan’s Super Formula Championship.

Additionally, the 2022 F4 champion will receive a $25,000 cash prize and an HPD-developed FRA race engine to assist with their graduation to FRA in 2023.

The effectiveness of FRA and F4 in developing young talent and providing a platform from which its drivers can move to the next level can be seen in the caliber of some of its recent graduates. Alumni include Dakota Dickerson, Ernie Francis Jr., Linus Lundqvist and 2022 NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year contenders Kyle Kirkwood and David Malukas.

“Proof of concept is, where the drivers from F4 and FRA have gone,” says Whiteman. “Just looking at IndyCar, there are a growing number of drivers who are now competing in the series, or who will compete there next year if things go as I expect. Kyle Kirkwood raced in F4 and FRA, and David Malukas competed in FRA. Both are making their mark as rookies, and I’m proud to say that both will be Honda-powered in 2023.”

NTT IndyCar Series rookie David Malukas is an FRA graduate.

With the 2022 F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda and Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda seasons heading past their halfway points, Whiteman is impressed by the ongoing level of talent on display in both series.

“It’s continuing proof of concept that both series are attracting such a high level of talent, not just from North America, but from around the world,” he says. “We’re proud not just to be a partner of FRA and F4, but also to be able to provide a platform for young drivers to develop their talents and move to the next level. Whoever is crowned champion in each series, it will be hugely deserved.”

In F4, with nine races in the books and nine still to go, Australian Lochie Hughes held a narrow points lead over an American trio of second-placed Bryson Morris, third-placed Noah Ping, and Matt Christensen holding fourth. All four drivers have already won twice, and it looks like the championship battle will go down to the wire.

In FRA, South Africa’s Raoul Hyman, winning six of the first nine races to establish a solid championship lead. Americans Dylan Tavella and Jason Alder have each won a race and sit second and third in the overall points. With a lot of races and racing still to go, all have their eyes on the Super Formula Championship scholarship and a chance to continue their journey to the highest levels of motorsport.

FRA points leader Raoul Hyman celebrates another race win at Mid-Ohio.

  • For all the news on Honda Performance Development and Honda Racing, head to honda.com, and for the latest updates and results from Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda and F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda, check out framericas.com and f4uschampionship.com. Plus, find out how The Power of Dreams continues to challenge and inspire Honda’s dream builders at honda.com.

Honda Performance Development supports NXG Youth Motorsports expansion

Honda Performance Development (HPD) has expanded its support of NXG Youth Motorsports (NXG) in 2022 by providing a fresh supply of 30 Honda karting engines for the program’s expanding efforts to bring motorsports to minority students and underrepresented communities.

Headed by co-founder and chief instructor Rod Reid, NXG’s programs feature science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to create opportunities and experiences for its youth participants through motorsports.

“HPD and Honda have long been supporters of youth in motorsports,” says John Whiteman, HPD’s manager of commercial motorsports. “As NXG Youth Motorsports continues to grow and expand into new markets, we’re pleased to be able to assist them by providing Honda engines for their racing karts.”

Honda engines power NXG Youth Motorsports’ karts.

After building a successful Indiana-based program over the last 15 years, NXG became an official partner of the NTT IndyCar Series and Penske Entertainment Corp. through its Race for Equality & Change initiative in 2020. NXG has targeted the Detroit community as it expands its reach in 2021, and it hosted its inaugural Detroit program June 5-6 at Belle Isle Park during the IndyCar race weekend.

“We’re very grateful to Honda and HPD for their continued support of our efforts, and we’ll be putting these new engines to immediate use,” says Reid. “The Honda engines have proven to be an excellent teaching tool for us, with performance and reliability that far exceeded our expectations.”

The NXG program consists of five levels to progressively introduce boys and girls to the fundamental aspects of racing, including advanced driving techniques, track geometry, understanding mechanical equipment and self-control, and each is transferable to their future daily lives.

All five levels include STEM-related education and English and critical thinking assignments revolving around motorsports. Each level takes place over a single weekend, providing eight hours of classroom and on-track instruction. To find out more, go to nxgyouth.org.