AUSTIN, TX – There’s no doubt about it, the Honda engines are quick. In the season opening race weekend for the NTT IndyCar Series in St. Pete, Honda dominated the speed charts.
In the first practice session of the year, Honda’s had the top six speeds and eight of the top nine. In the second session, they had three of the top four laps and five of the top seven. In final practice on Saturday morning, Honda put two cars in the top three once again. For qualifying four cars made the Fast Six and had eight of the top 12.
The problem is, they had reliability problems in the race. Out of the six cars that failed to finish, four of them had mechanical issues. Two of those, were blown engines. The drivers that had them blow were quick ones – Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Bourdais, was the two-time defending race winner and Hunter-Reay was in the top two in all three practice sessions.
On Friday at the Circuit of the Americas, another Honda engine blew. This one, was another fast car too in Colton Herta. His Harding Steinbrenner Racing engine went up in smoke after he set the second quickest lap of the session. He was in the top two in all four test sessions on the Texas road course last month.
This was another catastrophic failure as his car ended up with flames on it. The American would sit out the second session of the day due to the fire damaging his car.
That now raises concern in the Honda camp. That’s three engines to blow in two race weekends. It’s one thing to be fast, it’s another to be reliable.
It’s rare to see engines have any sort of issues in Indy Car these days anyways. It’s not too often that this occurs. Honda had a problem a few years ago and had to dial it back on race days. Are they nearing a similar fate?
The teams hope not, but Herta’s engine certainly drew attention in the paddock.