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Auto blogSun, 18 May 2014 16:18:00 EST
Open-wheel racing is almost always incredibly exciting to watch, whether it's the constant passing of the Indy 500 on an oval or the technological tour-de-force from Formula 1. However, both of those disciplines are essentially impossible for a normal person to enter. Of course, there are already cheaper, more amateur-friendly open-wheel competitions, like Formula Vee. A new SCCA Pro Racing series called Formula Lites aims to be a step in the ladder between those, offering a development opportunity to young drivers who want to be professionals.
The series already has some impressive backers. One of the biggest needs is now filled, as Honda has signed on as the engine supplier. All of the cars in Formula Lites will use the company's K24 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The automaker didn't specify power output for the competition engine, but in production models the K24 has made in the neighborhood of 190-200 horsepower in many applications. That should make the racers plenty potent.
All of the cars are using the new carbon fiber FL15 chassis from Crawford Composites, and Pirelli is the series' tire supplier. The organizers' goal for the cars is to keep racing costs down, while offering a reliable platform. Formula Lites plans to start racing with a few events later in 2014, and the full calendar begins in 2015. Scroll down to read the full announcement about Honda's involvement.
Honda has announced a recall over a possible rollaway risk that affects 204,169 crossover and minivan models. The specific vehicles in question are the 2012-13 Honda CR-V and Odyssey, as well as the 2013 Acura RDX.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "the brake-shift interlock blocking mechanism may become slow and allow the gear selector to be moved from the Park position without pressing the brake pedal." In other words, these vehicles could unintentionally roll away.
NHTSA states that this scenario may only happen during sub-freezing temperatures, but notes that this means the vehicles fail to conform with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 114: Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention. Honda will notify owners of the problem, and dealerships will install an updated interlocking mechanism free of charge.
It comes as no surprise that Honda's Civic and Accord are the most stolen cars in America, but as it turns out, thieves like the company's motorcycles the most too, according to a study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Out of the 46,061 two-wheelers stolen in 2012, 9,082 of them were Hondas. While that's bad news for Honda motorcycle owners, at least motorcycle theft went down slightly from 2011, which had 46,667 reported thefts. Motorcycle theft recoveries, on the other hand, were just 39 percent.
Yamaha is up next in the theft rankings (7,517), then Suzuki (7,017). The numbers drop a bit for fourth and fifth place, Kawasaki (4,839) and Harley-Davidson (3,755). These five brands are far and away the most stolen motorcycles: sixth place, apparently held by scooter, dirtbike and ATV maker Taotao, dropped to 914 theft reports.
California had the most reported thefts (6,082), followed by Florida (4,110), Texas (3,400), North Carolina (2,574) and Indiana (2,334). By city, New York City had the most reported thefts (903), followed by Las Vegas (757), San Diego (633), Indianapolis (584) and Miami (535.