Schmidt renews with Honda for 2014

SONOMA, Calif. -- Schmidt Peterson Motorsports/Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports is the first IZOD IndyCar Series team to re-sign with Honda Performance Development, which will supply a new 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine for the 2014 season.

"On behalf of fellow team owners Ric Peterson and Davey Hamilton, we are extremely pleased to have inked our deal for the future with Honda this early in the process," co-owner Sam Schmidt said. "We are confident in their plan moving forward and believe that their package will be capable of competing for wins and the championship in 2014. This is also a testament to the commitment by all of our commercial partners and team members to maintain continuity and loyalty."

INDYCAR recently announced that the 2014 engines supplied by Honda and Chevrolet would employ a twin turbocharger from BorgWarner to achieve competition parity. Since engine manufacturer competition returned to the series in 2012, Honda has utilized a single turbocharger.

"When we started the competitive era at the end of 2011, we knew we had a choice between single and twin turbo and we looked at the characteristics of each," said Steve Eriksen, vice president of Honda Performance Development. "It wasn't so much a question of whether you could make power with each, it was how you wanted to package it and what was best for your installation. The challenge of that balance proved to be difficult, and that's what has led to move to a single spec so that takes that variable out of the mix." 

In June, Simon Pagenaud gave the team its first victory. Pagenaud, the 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, is fifth in the championship standings entering the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma this weekend. Tristan Vautier, the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion, is driving the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car.

Schmidt said "every effort" is being made to continue as a two-car team for 2014. Eriksen said other team announcements will be forthcoming.

"Our focus is getting that 2014 package tested as soon as possible," he said.

Honda Performance Development could have its initial on-track test session of the new engine as early as Sept. 24 at Auto Club Speedway.

Briscoe won't do double duty at Baltimore

Ryan Briscoe said it's unlikely he'll compete in the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT on Sept. 1 and the American Le Mans Series race a day earlier on the 2-mile circuit.

Briscoe returned to the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma five weeks after suffering a fractured wrist in Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. Briscoe, who is wearing a brace, said the wrist is "90 percent."

Panther Racing hasn't announced who will drive at Baltimore. Oriol Servia was in the No. 4 car seat at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 4.

Of note

Scott Dixon with members of New Zealand's America's Cup teamTarget Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon visited with the Emirates New Zealand America’s Cup team Aug. 22 in San Francisco. New Zealand is competing against Italy for the Louis Vuitton Cup (and earn the right to face Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup this fall). … The primary Firestone Firehawks for the weekend are the same as those used in the mid-April race at Barber Motorsports Park. … Live streaming from the No. 98 Barracuda Racing garage is available throughout the weekend at … The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma has featured seven different winners since the series’ first visit to Sonoma: Tony Kanaan (2005), Marco Andretti (2006), Dixon (2007), Helio Castroneves (2008), Dario Franchitti (2009), Will Power (2010 and '11) and Ryan Briscoe (2012). ... Where to entrants stand on engine count (each entrant is allowed five engines for the year)? Get the latest HERE