Honda has always been associated with motorsports, ever since from day one with their founder Soichiro Honda. It began with Mr Honda heeding the call to compete in the Isle of Man TT races. It was a classic “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” case for Honda, and a real need in the face of looming bankruptcy because the Juno scooter flopped.

It had many issues – it had reliability issues and was too heavy, thus making it underpowered. Honda needed to sell bikes to get sales on the move again, and motorsports was one way to get the brand out there. The Tourist Trophy race program on the Isle of Man was Soichiro Honda’s choice of platform to showcase his race bikes. It took him 5 years for the first Hondas to race on the island, and 2 years later, Honda bikes won the Tourist Trophy category that they were racing in!

Honda F1

It’s a shame that they had to pull out of F1 at the moment due to the high costs associated. But I believe that it’s only something temporary, as Honda has been in and out of F1 before. They’ve been involved in F1 way back – since the 1960s, and they even won a race in 1965, just one year after they joined. And that amazing chassis that’s contributing to Brawn GP’s success now is the result of Honda F1 engineer development.

Even if they are not in F1 (they could possibly join the FOTA’s new Grand Prix Racing though?), they are still heavily involved in many other types of motorsports, both bikes and cars. Many of the technologies gained through racing R&D have been channeled into their road cars and bikes. Amongst many other races, in Malaysia, a factory team never fails to join the MME endurance race every year, and it races an NSX in the Super GT race.

VIDEO: Honda Motorsports “Reasons to Exist” – MME 2008

Their MME team is manned by Honda Malaysia staff and it helps them build team spirit, not to mention the knowledge and experience they gain under Mugen when building the race car. This is another way that motorsports can help a car company.

Honda NSX-GT

The Honda NSX-GT was in Malaysia during the weekend. It’s a race car based on the NSX, or the Honda New Sports eXperimental, a rear wheel drive, mid-engine mounted sports car powered by either a 3.0 litre or 3.2 litre V6 VTEC engine.

The NSX-R GT came much later as a response to the requirements of Super GT car requiring production car homologation. It was limited to a production run of only 5 cars to comply with JGTC rules. The NSX production car sales halted in 2005 to make way for a new V10 supercar (which was later put on hold around the same time as Honda pulling out of F1), but the NSX GT cars continued racing in the Super GT.

Honda NSX-GT
EPSON Nakajima Racing team is geared up to start

The Honda NSX Super GT car races in the GT500 class and runs a tuned up C32B engine, with displacement increased from 3.2 litres to various figures depending year to year. It was 3494cc in 2008 but this year lower at 3,396cc, but they all put out a rated 500 PS. There are even years where a force inducted 3.0 litre was used. The race car has evolved significantly since the road car, even down to the fact that the engine is now mounted longitudinally instead of transverse as per the road car.

VIDEO: Honda NSX GT car on-board cam at Fuji

In the GT500 race during the Sepang leg of the Japan Super GT last weekend, the NSX took 2nd (Keihin NSX) and 3rd place (ARTA NSX) after a Nissan GT-R, which very competitive considering that some might consider it an old chassis. Fourth position also went to the Raybrig NSX, with HIS Advan Kondo’s GT-R trailing it at 5th place.

Honda is currently having a competition called “Our Challenging Spirit” contest where you can basically nominate your friend with a Honda and Honda Racing-liked value (there are two – Passion and Dedication) and a reason for why you think your friend encompasses the spirit of Passion or Dedication, in under 300 words. You have to upload a picture of the person you are nominating.

Honda Contest

Then you also have to fill up a slogan (example of Challenging Spirit) of not more than 100 words. Winners will be chosen based on both reasons for nomination and the required slogan. You can follow updates on the competition and Honda Racing updates at the Honda Racing Malaysia Facebook page. Go on, join and become a fan, I have!

If you any favorite nominee you noticed, do let us know in the comments so we can go check the nominee out together!

1961 Jun.: Honda
sweeps top five places in Isle of Man TT Race
(125cc; 250cc).(1)

1962 Sep.: Suzuka
Circuit is completed.
Honda wins Constructor’s Championship in World
GP 125cc, 250cc and 350cc classes.

1964 Aug.: Honda’s first F1 entry.

1965 Oct.: Honda’s first F1 victory in Mexico Grand Prix.(2)

1966 Sep.: Honda
wins Constructor’s Championship in all classes
(50cc; 125cc; 250cc; 350cc; 500cc) at the
World Grand Prix, an international first.
Brabham Honda F2 car establishes a world record
of 11 consecutive victories.

1981 Sep.: Honda
wins Motocross World for 3years
consecutirely.

1982 Jan.: XR500R
wins Paris-Dakar Rally.

1984 Jun.:

July.:

Ralt-Honda
wins European F2 with a new world record of
12 consecutive wins.
Honda crowns its F1 comeback by winning the
F1 America Grand Prix.

1985 Nov.: Williams Honda takes Constructor’s Championship
in F1 Grand Prix.

1987 Nov.: Williams
Honda takes F1 Grand Prix double title.

1988 Nov.: McLaren
Honda wins double title in F1 Grand Prix,
and posts a record 11 consecutive F1 victories.

1989 Nov.: McLaren
Honda team takes second consecutive F1 Constructorês
Championship along with double title. (3)

1990 Nov.: McLaren
Honda takes another F1 Grand Prix double title.

1991 Mar.:

Jun.:

Nov.:

Honda
posts 60 Grand Prix victories in the Brazil
F1.
Honda wins 10 consecutive victories in Isle
of Man TT.
McLaren Honda take F1 Grand Prix double title
(5th consecutive Driver’s Championship and
4th consecutive Constructorês Championship).

1992 Feb.: Honda receives award from British Prime Minister
for winning 4 consecutive Constructorês Championships.

1993 Nov.: Honda wins the World Solar Challenge 1993,
with the Honda Dream. (4)

1994 Mar.: Honda
enters Americaês IndyCar World Series. (5)

1995 Aug.: Honda
wins its first victory at the 15th IndyCar
World Series.

1996 Sep.:

Oct.:

Honda
wins the IndyCar World Series Manufacturer’s
Championship.
Honda wins the World Solar Challenge ’96.

1997 Aug.: Twin
Ring Motegi is completed.

1998 Mar.: Japan’s first IndyCar race is held at Twin
Ring Motegi. (6)

1999 Oct.: Honda captures six consecutive WGP Rider &
Manufacturer titles.

2001 Apr.:

Aug.:

Nov.:

Honda
wins 500 Motorcycle Road Race World Championship
victories at Suzuka Grand Prix.
6 consecutive wins at Suzuka 8-hour endurance
race.
6 consecutive Driver’s titles and 4 Manufacturer’s
titles in CART Series.

2002 Apr.: Race Debut of new 4-stroke, 5-cylinder RC211V
motorcycle. (7)

2003 Apr.: Honda’s
first race in the MTB downhill.

2004 Sep.:

Oct.:

Honda wins the WCT, Takahisa Fujinami takes
his first world title. (8)
In its second year of participation in the
Indy Car

Series, Honda wins three titles: the Driver’s
title,the Manufacturer’s title and Rookie
of the Year.


2005 Sep.: Honda wins three titles in the Indy Car Series, consecutively for 2 years.

2006 Sep.:

Oct.:

F1 Hungary GP Honda Works Team wins its first victory in 39 years. (9)

Wins MotoGP rider title and wins all titles for constructer, team, and rookie of the year.


2007 Nov.: Honda wins Team and Drivers’ titles in the SuperGT

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