After a headline-making debut in 2018 – including a near miss with a passenger vehicle on the race course captured on a video that went viral – Honda Indy car star Alexander Rossi will again take on the SCORE Baja 1000, driving the Baja Ridgeline Race Truck as part of the Honda Off-Road Racing Team.
An off-road “rookie” at last year’s running of the legendary race, Rossi quickly adapted to the unique demands of desert racing, which saw the Jeff Proctor-led Honda Off-Road Racing Team post a second-place Class 7 finish, the fourth consecutive first- or second-place result for the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck at the Baja 1000.
“I am more than excited to get back in this Honda Ridgeline off-road truck for the Baja 1000,” Rossi said. “It’s safe to say I decided last year, within five minutes of testing the Ridgeline for the first time, that I was going to do this again.”
Rossi is a seven-time NTT IndyCar Series race winner, including the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016. For his second Baja 1000, he will again share driving duties with team owner/driver Proctor and Baja veteran Pat Dailey, with each driver covering approximately one third of the nearly 800-mile “loop” course, which will start and end in Ensenada, Mexico.
Proctor won his class in the Baja 1000 in both 2015 and 2016 with the Ridgeline, finished second in class in 2017 and 2018; and won the companion SCORE Baja 500 race both in 2016, 2018 and again earlier this year. The Ridgeline competes in Class 7, for unlimited six-cylinder production-appearing trucks and SUVs.
“We are stoked to have Alexander back racing with us in Mexico for his sophomore attempt at this iconic off-road race,” Proctor said. “This year’s 52nd annual Baja 1000 course covers ALL of the toughest terrain and areas in Baja Norte….as always, it will be tough. Alex is one of the brightest motorsports minds I’ve worked with, and he is a great asset to our team.”
Powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 produced by Honda Performance Development, the Ridgeline Baja Race Truck features a body designed by Honda R&D Americas’ Los Angeles Design Studio, with inspiration taken from the current Honda Ridgeline, also designed and developed by Honda R&D North Americas. Key design cues drawn from the 2019 Honda Ridgeline can be seen in the front fascia, hood, roof, bed and side profile.
Making approximately 550 horsepower, HPD’s 3.5-liter HR35TT engine uses the same block, cylinder heads and crankshaft as the production V6 engine that powers the all-new Ridgeline. Additional, custom elements of the powertrain include an HPD-designed intake plenum and custom Engine Control Unit programming.
Rossi is the sixth Indy 500 winner to take part in the Baja 1000. Other Indy winners who have raced in the SCORE Baja 1000 include Parnelli Jones, a two-time race winner (1971 72); fellow Honda IndyCar Series driver and Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay; Rick Mears, Danny Sullivan and Buddy Rice. Indy car season champions who have raced in the Baja 1000 include Mears, Hunter-Reay, Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy.
“The Honda off-road guys and my co-driver/navigator Evan Weller make it so easy for me to just jump right in and go to work,” Rossi said. “I can’t wait to share the seat with Jeff [Proctor] and Pat [Dailey] once again, and hopefully, bring home a win.” The Honda Off-Road Racing Team has had an outstanding 2019 season, including class wins for the Baja Ridgeline Race Truck at the Parker 425, the Mint 400 and the Baja 500; where the team successfully debuted the second-generation “TSCO” chassis; and a second-place Class 7 finish at the Vegas-to-Reno event.
The oldest, most prestigious and longest continuously held desert off-road race, this year’s SCORE Baja 1000 on Nov. 19-24 will be a loop race of 799.1 miles, starting and ending in Ensenada in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The race is the finale of the SCORE World Desert Championship. The start/finish line compound will once again be adjacent to the historic Riviera del Pacifico Cultural Center in Ensenada. The car, truck and UTV classes will start at 10:30 a.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 22, with the first finishers expected to complete the race in approximately 13 hours.
Social media content and video links from the Ridgeline Racing effort at Baja will be available on HPD’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).
Team Honda Racing Ridgeline efforts is made possible by strong support from Honda Racing / HPD, General Tire, FOX, Baja Designs, KMC Wheels, STEEL-IT Coatings, Sparco, Eibach Springs, NEO Synthetic Oil, RPI Racing, PCI Race Radios, AEM Air Filters, Pro Eagle, JE REEL Driveline, MPI Innovations, and Trayco.
For additional info on the Honda Ridgeline Off-road team go to: http://www.hondaoff-road.com/ or HondaOffRoadRacing on Facebook, Instagram: @HondaOffRoadRacing or Jeff Proctor on Personal Instagram: @proctor_race.
Photography By: Bink Designs
About Jeff Proctor / Honda Off Road
Jeff Proctor grew up surfing in Southern California and like most American kids played traditional stick and ball sports as well. The allure of racing was sparked from his competitive nature, but it wasn’t until starting his first business, an action sports clothing brand in his college dorm room, that Proctor was able to buy his first motocross bike and begin his lifelong journey in off-road racing.
Today, Jeff has embarked on his most ambitious chapter of his race career – Partnering with American Honda, HPD-Honda Performance Development and Honda Powersports to create an Off-Road Racing Factory Mega Team. Jeff will not only pilot a custom Honda unlimited Twin Turbo off-road race vehicle but also direct and oversee the team’s entire race operation, including a two car Honda Talon Side by Side team in 2020. Jeff will lead his team and Honda to the podium, bringing more high-level race teams to the exciting sport of off-road racing.
Visit // www.hondaoff-road.com
About Honda Performance Development, Inc.
(HPD) is Honda’s racing company in North America and is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Founded in 1993, HPD is the technical operations center for Honda’s high-performance racing programs. HPD specializes in the design and development of race engines, chassis and performance parts, and technical/race support. We are proud to also offer parts and race support to Honda and Acura grassroots motorsports racers, and are expanding our support of racing series and programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of pro racing.
Visit // www.hpd.honda.com
About Bink Designs
Bink Designs is a premier digital media marketing company located in San Diego, CA. Since 2007, Bink Designs has been committed to providing cost-effective solutions for clients’ high-end media needs. Bink Designs will work with you to develop a strategy that matches your goals. Bink Designs offers a number of services, including: Identity, Print Design, Vinyl Graphics, Web Design, Photography & Apparel.
Visit // www.binkdesigns.com