Notes: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Honda expand, extend partnership

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports along with Honda and Honda Performance Development announced today an increased level of partnership between the two parties. The Verizon IndyCar Series team and the engine manufacturer also noted the extended contract is intact through the 2020 season.

“Our technical partners give us the increased engineering capability which, in turn, gives HPD the confidence in us as a team to take our partnership to the next level,” said Piers Phillips, SPM General Manager. “Our contract extension is the culmination of everyone’s hard work. One of the things that we’re extremely excited about is working closer technically with HPD for the benefit of not only our program, but for all Honda programs in the IndyCar Series. We’re really excited for the next three years and hoping to win a lot of races, some Indy 500s and championships.”

Since its first full season in the Verizon IndyCar Series beginning in 2011 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has been a Honda-powered team.

Together the Indianapolis-based crew and the California-based manufacturer have thus far secured six wins, two Indianapolis 500 pole positions, four pole positions overall as well as three top-five finishes in the championship points standings.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in (SPM’s) capability, and our expectations are a lot higher,” said Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr. “Their engineering talent, their ability to analyze what’s going on from one race to the next and really be able to up their game each session really impressed us. We are going to be relying on Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to help us gather base data that is going to be the source of our programs like HPD Dynamic, our simulator, and those types of activities that we will be feeding across to all of our Honda teams to make sure that all of them raise their game.

 “As we move forward with our manufacturer testing, SPM is going to be one of our key teams to really help us characterize the kits and make sure we can understand what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses and how we can maximize the ability of that kit to get the speed on track.”

Microsoft Forza Challenge with Conor DalyDaly to challenge fans to Forza competition

Bay Area fans of the Forza racing game franchise will get a chance to match their driving skills against a Verizon IndyCar Series driver on Sept. 12.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver and video game fan, Conor Daly, will challenge fans to test their skills while previewing the most immersive and comprehensive game ever made, “Forza Motorsport 7,” on Xbox One X at the Microsoft Store at Westfield San Francisco Centre. Daly is in town promoting the Verizon IndyCar Series’ championship-deciding race on Sept. 17.

“I’ve been playing Forza since the beginning. It was the racing game that my friends and I played,” said Daly, the driver of AJ Foyt Racing’s No. 4 Chevrolet, which is one of four Verizon IndyCar Series cars featured in the game. “I’ve spent thousands of hours playing that game, so to get to play the new ‘Forza Motorsport 7’ before a lot of people is really cool. I have a lot of respect for Turn 10 Studios and what they put into making the game as real as possible. I’m excited to see what it feels like.”

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Daly will set lap times on tracks included in “Forza Motorsport 7,” which releases worldwide on Oct. 3. Fans will be able to pre-order the game at Microsoft Store and those who attend the event will then compete against Daly and others for prizes for the fastest times every 30 minutes. The fastest overall time will win a VIP experience at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 17.

Daly also will sign autographs during his appearance, a joint-effort between INDYCAR, Microsoft Store, New Era and Forza to bring the excitement of racing to Bay Area fans in anticipation of the Championship race.

From the fans