Honda and Byran Herta Autosport finally made it official on Thursday.
The Japanese auto giant will supply engines for Canada’s Alex Tagliani in the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosports/Barracuda Dallara DW12 for the Indianapolis 500 and through to then end of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Tagliani and BHA/Barracuda started the season using Lotus power, but after three hugely disappointing results the team was let out of its contract after numerous engine failures.
Tagliani won the pole as last year’s Indy 500 — the first Canadian to do so — with a Honda engine.
Honda Performance Development vice-president Steve Eriksen announced the deal Thursday morning.
“We’re pleased to be able to renew our relationship with Bryan Herta and his team. Bryan has long been associated with Honda and HPD, and he served as our primary development driver during the last era of IndyCar manufacturer competition,” Eriksen said in a HPD release. “His team’s victory in the 2011 Indianapolis 500 was the stuff of legend, and all of us at HPD and American Honda are delighted to have a hand in helping him defend that championship.
“Beyond that, we look forward to a successful partnership with Bryan Herta Autosport through the remainder of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.”
For Herta it was a home coming for sorts as he has a long history with the manufacturer.
“My time as a Honda driver in both the IndyCar Series, as well as the time spent driving factory Acura LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series, were among my most rewarding and memorable years in racing,” Herta said. “So, it is with great personal pleasure that we are returning to the Honda family for the remainder of the 2012 season.
“We look forward to joining the other Honda-powered teams on track this weekend in preparation for the 2012 Indianapolis 500, and working to defend last year’s memorable and popular win by Dan Wheldon. I know that Alex Tagliani and the entire Team Barracuda – BHA crew are brimming with confidence and excitement going into the ‘Month of May.’
Team co-owner Steve Newey also expressed his delight at the engine contract.
“We are very proud to be joining our friends at Honda again and renewing our successful partnership from previous IndyCar programs,” Newey said. “Bryan and I were also fortunate to be part of the Acura LMP2 racing project that won the class in its very first race at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2007. Partnering with Honda makes us even more confident as we head into the month of May, and Team Barracuda – BHA is working hard to help Alex Tagliani put the No. 98 car in Victory Circle again.”