That Honda takes motor racing very seriously cannot be denied, engine failures in Formula 1 aside. In the motorcycle racing world, Honda, through its racing division Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) has never been shy of spending millions of cubic dollars in the pursuit of trophies.

For the 2018 Suzuka 8-hours endurance race, HRC will be fielding a full factory team, dubbed Team HRC, for the first time in a decade. While HRC has the best win record at Suzuka of any manufacturer – 27 first places over 40 races – it has been overshadowed by rival Yamaha over the previous three runnings of the race.

HRC has previously run Suzuka through factory supported teams such as F.C.C. TSR Honda and Malaysian-led Satu Hati Honda Team Asia, but success has eluded the boys from Kumamoto, Japan. Yamaha topped the podium last year with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team, and Kawasaki was second with Kawasaki Team Green, while HRC came in third with F.C.C. TSR Honda.

No rider line-up has been announced as yet, but Team HRC will be running a race superbike based on the Honda CBR1000RR SP2. The team will also be competing in the 2018 MFJ All Japan Road Race Championship with rider Takumi Takahashi.

“Honda will be competing as a factory team for the first time in ten years in the JRR JSB1000 class, the pinnacle of road racing in Japan and a more intense 2018 season with 13 races over 9 rounds, and the Suzuka 8hours, an extremely challenging race,” said Yoshishige Nomura, president of HRC. The Suzuka 8-hours is seen as a very prestigious race in Japan, and market success can be determined by which brand wins the race.

The big factory teams will have top-flight riders from other race series, such as MotoGP and World Superbikes, compete at the Suzuka 8-hours as part of their sponsorship obligations. Suzuka Circuit, located in Mie Prefecture, Japan, has a capacity of 155,000 spectators, and is operated by Mobilityland Corporation, a Honda Motor subsidiary company, which technically makes it HRC’s home track.