Trophies & Champagne are what the Sonoma SRO Season Opener brought LA Honda World Racing
L.A. Honda World Racing got off to a great start in the SRO TC America season in its first two races of the campaign this past weekend at Sonoma Racing.
Newcomer Kyle Loh was the big star of the weekend for L.A. Honda World, earning a win and third-place finish in the TCX classes in the two timed events around the 2.505-mile, 12-turn road course north of San Francisco.
Loh, who calls Sonoma Raceway his home track because he’s raced and practiced there so many times over the years, was fast from the moment his car unloaded off the hauler. After missing the first practice Friday due to weather, Loh was the quickest driver in the second practice later that afternoon, once the weather cleared up.
Then in qualifying, Loh was the second-quickest at 1:52.244 in his No. 73 L.A. Honda World Racing Civic Type-R TCX, just 0.241 of a second behind polesitter Daijiro Yoshihara, whose car suffered mechanical failure one-third of the way through Race 1 on Saturday.
Loh, meanwhile, finished third, earning a podium showing, just barely missing a runner-up finish after a late-race drop-off of one position.
All that was a prelude to Sunday’s Race 2, which Loh dominated – almost like an easy 40-minute, 21-lap Sunday morning drive in the countryside – as he won the TCX class with relative ease, defeating runner-up Lucas Catania by nearly 15 seconds.
“A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this race,” Loh said. “I can’t thank the L.A. Honda World boys enough. They worked so hard on the setup and so much development over the last year.
“Also a shout-out to HPD (Honda Performance Development) Academy for getting me ready for this event.”
But Loh wasn’t the only star for L.A. Honda World over the weekend.
Teammate Spencer Bucknum, in his No. 5 Honda Civic Si FE1, was strong from start to finish. He was the quickest in the TCA class in Friday’s morning practice, although the session was shortened due to weather, with not all drivers on the grid getting a chance to take to the pavement.
Then in the second practice on Friday, held mid-afternoon after the bad weather cleared up, Bucknum was quickest again, the only TCA driver to break under the two-minute barrier, finishing with a TCA class-best time of 1:59.968.
Continuing on with the teams good news was LA Honda World Racing team owner Mario Biundo, who got his personal best qualifying P4. He followed that up with another personal best, two top 5 finishes with the only Civic Si coupe in the field.
“I am very proud of my performance here given I am without a new generation Civic Si. All the credit goes to Ryan Eversley who is in my ear, literally and figuratively. I can see the podium, it's closer than it has ever been for me!”
Then came the weekend’s two races.
Bucknum finished runner-up in the TCA class in Race 1 on Saturday.
“Not a bad way to start the year off, coming away with a P2 finish in Race 1,” Bucknum said. “Can’t thank everyone enough at @LAHondaWorld and @HondaRacing_HPD enough for giving me such a solid platform and to (teammate Ryan) @Eversley for the support on and off the track! Time to do it again tomorrow.”
And do it again the next day was exactly what Bucknum did. In Race 2 on Sunday, Bucknum again finished runner-up, putting the cap on a very strong weekend overall.
“The 11th generation Honda Civic Si TCA car ran flawlessly all weekend. Honda Performance Development did a stellar job developing this new generation TCA car and already the pace of this car is being shown, allowing me to secure two second place finishes. Although we had very little practice time, the LA Honda World team and I dialed in the setup on the car and I am excited to see what we can accomplish throughout the rest of the season” expressed Bucknum at the close of the Sonoma weekend.
The next SRO TC America race will be April 28-30 at NOLA Motorsports Park in suburban New Orleans, with Races 3 and 4 on the 14-race schedule.
Part of the Honda Performance Development program, L.A. Honda World Racing is the official race team of L.A. Honda World, a factory-authorized Honda dealership in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, CA.
For more information about the drivers and team, visit L.A. Honda World Racing on the Web at www.lahondaworldracing.com and www.lahondaworld.com.
About L.A. Honda World Racing
L.A. Honda World Racing is an in-house professional racing team based in Southern California and participates in the SRO / TC America and IMSA racing series exclusively racing touring cars built by Honda Performance Development. They are also a factory authorized Honda dealer for American Honda Motor Co. www.lahondaworldracing.com
About Honda Performance Development
Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), has a rich heritage creating, manufacturing, and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers since 1993. From pinnacle racing in INDYCAR and IMSA Sports Cars to commercial racing programs, HPD powers the dreams of professional and amateur racers from age 4 to 40+. HPD is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and leads all of Honda and Acura's high-performance racing programs in North America. HPD specializes in the design and development of powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts, as well as technical and race support. HPD offers parts and race support to Honda and Acura amateur and professional motorsports racers and is continually expanding its palette of racing programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of pro racing. For more information, visit www.hpd.honda.com