Amateur racing is often a case of making do with what you have. Sometimes it's a case of doing what you know best. But rarely in the past have these racing realities resulted in what the world witnessed at the 2006 Car and Driver One Lap of America.
Entered into the SUV class were two minivans - Honda Odysseys to be exact, built and prepped by a team of Honda associates from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA). For some it would have been enough to simply enter such unconventional vehicles into what has become one of the biggest "run what you brung" road racing competitions in the world. But the team from HMA, Bradley Buchanan (Project Leader), Adam Webster, Toby Leslie, Rick Parisi, Shane Breuninger and John Wamsley weren't content with just showing up. Like other racing teams formed by Honda employees such as HART, HRA and the Thunderhill 25 Hours team, the HMA boys wanted to compete, and they even dared dream about winning their class. In their first ever competition, after a week of racing and nearly 5000 miles of driving from track to track, they nearly succeeded, foiled only by a 500+ hp, V8, AWD SUV with carbon fiber body panels.
While a victory eluded them in their first One Lap, finishing 2nd and 3rd in class, and 48th and 66th overall in a field of 88 cars is an outstanding start for the HMA team. Among the cars bested included Lotus Elises, Pontiac GTOs, Chevrolet Corvettes and many other sports cars that never expected to place behind one (or two) minivans. The HMA Odysseys combined speed, reliability and comfort (more on that later) to surprise the field. Want to know how they did it? Let's look at the race cars themselves.