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[Auto House Race] For Honda, the racing event is a symbol of Honda's challenging spirit. Since the beginning of its business, Honda has been participating in and challenging various types of racing activities. Honda's racing system covers various events from motorcycles to cars. In the past few decades, Honda has won numerous honors. Although motorcycles are the starting point for Honda to get involved in racing, and the initial success also comes from motorcycle sports, Honda is also the originator of Japan's participation in F1. Next, let us approach the racing dream that has been integrated into Honda's DNA.

◆Honda founder is keen on motorsports

Honda Soichiro, the founder of Honda, is a dreamer who loves speed. At the age of 18, Soichiro, who was still a car repairer in a repair shop in Tokyo, became a professional mechanic for the racing team in the store because of his outstanding craftsmanship. In addition to repairing and maintaining the car, he also made and modified parts by himself. , This experience made Honda Soichiro obsessed with racing.

Later, Honda Soichiro owned his own car repair shop, he also modified a Ford car, and his brother participated in the All Japan Auto Speed Competition. During the race, the average speed of Honda Soichiro was as high as 120 km/h. When approaching the finish line, a repair car suddenly rushed out from the side of the track. As a result, the two cars collided, and Soichiro fell out of the car and immediately passed out into a coma. Although the accident caused him to bruise his face, dislocate his arm, and fracture his wrist, this kind of fighting spirit with the goal of victory has become a huge driving force for Honda in the future.

1. Honda's two-wheeled car

◆Honda wants to participate in the competition to revitalize the enterprise

The far-sighted Honda Soichiro was not satisfied with the auto repair shop business, so he decided to join the manufacturing industry. After more than 10 years of entrepreneurship, Honda Soichiro finally made his first real pot of gold after the end of World War II. At that time, Japan's transportation was not well developed. Transportation such as cars and trains were overloaded, and Japan's rugged mountain roads made cyclists feel very laborious. After seeing this business opportunity, Honda Soichiro went to purchase the remaining communications machines used by the military, converted them into small gasoline engines and installed them on bicycles. This was Honda's first batch of “motorcycles.” Soon, Honda developed its own engine and began to produce motorcycles in the true sense.

In June 1950, when the Korean War broke out, the “special needs” of the U.S. military supported the Japanese auto industry in the ruins. However, the particularity of the war determined the temporary nature of the demand for special supplies. When the two sides signed the armistice agreement, the “special needs” Related companies are in recession again. In 1954, a storm of bankruptcy swept across the country. Seventy percent of the 200 motorcycle factories had gone bankrupt. Honda, which had just moved the factory from Hamamatsu to Tokyo, was also facing an operating crisis and the company's capital turnover was difficult.

In order to revitalize Honda, Soichiro thought of Japanese swimmer “Mt. Fuji Flying Fish” Hiroyuki Furuhashi, who had set a world record in the United States. His gold medal gave the defeated Japanese a shot. Honda Soichiro also hopes to make Honda into the world through the overseas power, so he announced his participation in the Olympic Games in motorcycle racing-known as the most cruel race of the Isle of Man TT (Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, also translated as Man Island TT and horse racing Eundo TT Competition).

Since the TT competition is conducted on narrow and curved roads, even passing through various streets and lanes, the risk factor is extremely high. Since its establishment in 1907, more than 240 people have been killed. High risk comes with high attention. Whoever wins in this event can become the focus of the world's attention, thereby enhancing brand awareness and sales. Honda is bound to win this.

◆The hard way to win the championship, the Honda people are persevering

Back then, the person in charge of the Honda racing project was Kawashima Xihao, who later became the second president of Honda, and gathered 20 young people who liked motorcycles. A 22-year-old new employee, Yoshizhi Kume, was appointed to design the engine, and he became the third president of Honda in the future. We know that the engine mixes fuel and air, and then burns the mixture to generate horsepower. In order to better inhale the mixture, Kumi tried to make an engine with an enlarged valve port, but the horsepower test result was actually 0. The valve cannot be opened smoothly, resulting in the mixed gas not entering the engine. After many attempts, it still does not work.

In 1957, Honda tried to participate in a domestic race in Japan. At that time, 12 motorcycle manufacturers participated. Yamaha took the lead from the start of the game and eventually took the top three. Although Honda is desperately chasing, but it suffers from insufficient horsepower, which is not a threat at all. Even Honda in Japan cannot win, let alone win the world championship.

As a result, the Honda racing project team began to study the Italian Mondial, the car that won three times in the Isle of Man TT competition. They have formulated a comprehensive and detailed research plan, from the material technology to the working principle, one by one analysis. After comparison, the opponent's engine power is 16.5 horsepower, while Honda's engine power output is less than half of others. At this time, it was reported that Yamaha won sixth place in the American international competition. This news greatly stimulated Honda.

Want to win the Isle of Man TT competition requires 18 horsepower, but Yoshiki Kume manufactured 8 engines, which is still far from reaching this value. Yoshito Kudo, director of the Honda Institute of Technology, proposed the use of a four-valve technology that makes air in and out of the cylinder more efficient. However, due to the complexity of the structure, no manufacturer in the world had adopted this design at the time. Honda decided to make a bold attempt.

◆Honda racing on the highest podium

In 1959, the Honda team used a 17.3 horsepower four-valve engine to participate in the Isle of Man TT competition. On June 3, 34 motorcycles from the world’s top manufacturers started the race. The lead was Italy’s MV Agusta and East Germany’s MZ. Honda riders were desperately chasing, but they lacked horsepower on the 500-meter uphill. The suspension is too soft in the corners, and the downforce is not enough in the 160-degree hairpin bends, resulting in slow speed. In the end, Honda, who participated in the TT competition for the first time, won sixth in the 125ML level. In a letter to Honda Soichiro Kawashima wrote: “We are still frogs at the bottom of the well, but we have souls that are not inferior to foreign frogs. Three years later, we will definitely grow up and show them.”

In the third year of the Isle of Man competition, in 1961, Honda's racing project team encountered a bottleneck. Although the world's first four-valve engine exceeded the target of 18 horsepower, foreign manufacturers have been able to reach 20 horsepower. If the 4-valve switch can be stabilized to a thousandth of a second, horsepower can be generated, so Honda began to challenge fine design. There are 10 gears that control the valves, each of which is carefully selected and one in a million, because the slightest deviation can also cause low horsepower and overheating of the engine.

In the end, the new four-valve engine reached the highest ever of 21 horsepower, and the racing suspension system was successfully modified to absorb the lateral forces generated in the corners. On June 12, in the final of the Isle of Man TT Competition, the rider representing Honda beat Italy's Ducati and East Germany's MZ, winning the top five in the 125ML and 250ML classes in one fell swoop. The British newspaper reported in a full page, “The sophisticated engine like a watch is full of creativity. In the near future, Japan will bring a new style to the world's motorcycle industry.”

◆Honda has always actively participated in various motorcycle races

The victory of the Isle of Man allowed Honda to get rid of the business crisis and continue to grow. It also allowed Honda to enter the world stage and establish its leading position in the international motorcycle market. Today, Honda has become the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer, and they still invest heavily in motorcycle competitions every year and win one after another honor.

In 2012, the Honda manufacturer's team-Lepsol-Honda Racing will continue to participate in the MotoGP World Motorcycle Championships and challenge the goal of winning the triple crown of drivers, teams and manufacturers. Regarding the Moto2 level, Honda, as the only official designated engine supplier, will continue to provide engines to all participating teams. 2012 was also the first season of Moto3. Of the 32 participating cars, 13 were from Honda.

In addition, Honda also actively participates in motorcycle competitions around the world, such as the Japanese Motocross Championship, the World Superbike Championship (WSB), the World Motocross Championship (WMX), the World Motocross Championship, and the Asian Motocross Championship. Wait.

Motorcycles are the foundation of Honda. On this basis, Honda began to develop its automotive business in 1963. Using the rich experience and large amount of funds obtained in the research and development and promotion of motorcycles, Honda actively participates in the car competition. Honda's automotive events include the global Formula One Championship (F1), the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC); the regional Japanese Super GT Championship, the North American IndyCar and so on. Below, we will introduce them one by one.

2. Honda's four-wheel racing car

◆With F1, Honda opens the car market

1964-1968 Honda's first F1 battle
Season Constructors' championship Driver's Championship Honda results
1964 Ferrari John Sultes

In 1964, Honda set foot in F1 for the first time.
In 1965 and 1967, Honda won the championship twice.
At the end of 1968, Honda announced its withdrawal from F1 for the first time.

1965 lotus Jim Clark
1966 Brabham Jack Brabham
1967 Brabham Danny Hammer
1968 lotus Graham Hill
1983-1992 Honda's second F1 expedition (engine supplier)
Season Constructors' championship Driver's Championship Honda results
1983 Brabham Nelson Piquet

In 1983, Honda returned to F1 as an engine supplier.
From 1986 to 1991, the Honda-sponsored team won 6 annual constructors' championships and 5 annual driver's championships.
At the end of 1992, Honda once again announced its withdrawal from F1, and the 10 years of F1 experience was the most glorious moment in Honda's F1 history.

1984 McLaren Nicky Lauda
1985 McLaren Alain Prost
1986 Williams Alain Prost
year 1987 Williams Nelson Piquet
1988 McLaren Elton Senna
in 1989 McLaren Alain Prost
1990 McLaren Elton Senna
year 1991 McLaren Elton Senna
1992 Williams Nigel Mansell
2000-2008 Honda's third F1 expedition
(From 2000 to 2005, it was the engine supplier; from 2006 to 2008, it was the manufacturer's fleet)
Season Constructors' championship Driver's Championship Honda results
2000's Ferrari Michael Schumacher

From 2000 to 2005, Honda once again set foot in F1 as an engine supplier, but this time their results were rather flat.

2001 Ferrari Michael Schumacher
year 2002 Ferrari Michael Schumacher
Year 2003 Ferrari Michael Schumacher
year 2004 Ferrari Michael Schumacher
2005 Renault Fernando Alonso
year 2006 Renault Fernando Alonso In 2006, Honda returned to F1 as a manufacturer, but the results were still mediocre.
At the end of 2008, Honda announced its withdrawal from F1 due to the financial crisis.
2007 Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen
Year 2008 McLaren Lewis Hamilton
*The red letters in the table are the championship teams and championship drivers supported by Honda

In 1964, Honda began to participate as a manufacturer in F1, which is regarded as the highest level of automotive events. This time, initially, the Honda F1 car was equipped with a V12 engine derived from motorcycle technology, which was characterized by the use of one exhaust pipe for every three cylinders, and a total of four exhaust pipes installed at the rear. In 1965, at the Mexican Grand Prix, the final year of the 1.5-liter F1 engine era, Kawashima preferred to lead the Honda F1 team to a historic first victory.

In 1967, the second year after the displacement was changed to 3.0 liters, Honda won the Italian Grand Prix again, which was the second victory for the Honda team. However, the stubborn Honda Soichiro had a preference for air-cooled engines and ordered Honda's new F1 car to be equipped with this kind of machine. In 1968, a Honda car equipped with a 3.0-liter V8 air-cooled engine raced in France. The car hit the retaining wall and exploded. The driver was killed on the spot and 16 spectators in the stands were burned. This accident caused Honda to withdraw from F1 for the first time. .

Honda is the first in Japan to participate in F1 and the first car factory to win the championship. Six years of F1 experience has greatly benefited Honda in the field of automobile manufacturing. With the global oil crisis of the 1970s as an entry point, Honda successfully entered the US market and quickly gained a place with cheap and high-quality products.

◆F1 six consecutive championships, Honda stands on top of the world

    From 1983 to 1992, Honda entered F1 for the second time. This time Honda competed as an engine supplier, and the person in charge of the racing project was Nobuhiko Kawamoto who later became the fourth president of Honda. This decade is the most glorious moment in F1 history for Honda and Japanese car manufacturers. From 1986 to 1991, the Honda-sponsored team won 6 annual constructors' championships and 5 annual driver's championships between 1986 and 1991.

In the first year of returning to F1, Honda provided Spirit and Williams teams with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with a maximum output of approximately 600 horsepower and a model of RA163E. The best result of the two teams in the 1983 season was fifth. name. In 1984, Honda introduced a heavily modified RA164E engine. The maximum power of this engine was 50 horsepower higher than RA163E, reaching 650 horsepower. The Williams-Honda team used a car equipped with this engine and won the championship in the United States.

In 1985, Honda launched the RA165E engine, and the maximum power was further increased to 800 horsepower. At the same time, the problem of high temperature instability in the RA164E engine was effectively solved. The Williams-Honda team won a total of 4 substations that year. champion. In 1986, Honda launched a brand-new RA166E engine with a power output close to 900 horsepower. With top-notch engines, Williams-Honda won the constructors' championship one stop ahead of schedule.

In 1987, Honda provided the Williams and Lotus teams with the RA167E 1.5-liter V6 turbocharged engine (4Bar supercharged value) with a maximum power of 1050 horsepower. In the 10th year of participating in F1, Honda finally won the long-awaited team (Williams-Honda) and driver (Piquet) “double” championship.

In 1988, Honda began to provide engines for McLaren and Lotus teams. The new rules limit the engine boost value to 2.5Bar. Honda’s new RA168E engine still uses a 1.5-liter V6 turbocharged design, and the maximum power is drastically reduced to 680 horsepower. That year, McLaren-Honda achieved an unprecedented 15 victories in 16 races, winning the constructors championship 6 races ahead of schedule, and Senna won the drivers championship for the first time.

In 1989, F1 completely banned turbocharging technology and only allowed naturally aspirated engines with a maximum displacement of 3.5 liters. Honda immediately launched a new 3.5-liter V10 naturally aspirated engine RA109A with a maximum speed of 12800rpm and a maximum power of 680 horsepower. Although it is switched to natural aspiration, the power output of the engine has not been weakened, and the ride comfort is better. This year, McLaren-Honda continued to win the championship of the team and driver (Prost), and Honda proved to the world that they are the strongest whether it is turbocharged or naturally aspirated.

In 1990, Honda launched the RA109E, an upgraded version of the RA109A engine. The maximum speed was increased to 13000rpm and the maximum power was also increased to 700 horsepower. Senna won the Drivers' Championship and also achieved three consecutive McLaren-Honda titles. In 1991, Honda continued to improve the performance of the F1 engine, and the new RA121E 3.5-liter V12 engine was born. The previous 3.5-liter V10 engine was modified to RA101E and provided to the Tyrell team. Senna once again won the championship without any suspense, McLaren-Honda created four consecutive brilliant championships.

In 1992, Honda introduced a new RA122E 3.5-liter V12 engine, which increased its maximum power to 880 horsepower. However, the prosperous McLaren-Honda was still squeezed out of the altar by the Williams-Renault team, who, with the help of F1 aerodynamics master Newey, easily became the new double crown. Honda withdrew from F1 again after the 1992 season.

Since then, Honda has converted a large number of F1 racing technology into civilian vehicles. The high-speed naturally aspirated red-head engine, VTEC variable valve timing and lift technology, NSX aluminum lightweight monomer chassis, etc., are all based on Honda’s Years of accumulation in F1 arena.

◆Technology Honda, continue F1 front edge

Entering the new millennium, Honda launched the F1 program for the third time. Fukui, who was a racing driver in his early years, became the new project leader. He became the sixth president of Honda in June 2003. Like founder Honda Soichiro, Fukui has a soft spot for racing, and even at the press conference when he took over as the president, he emphasized to the outside world: “I entered Honda mainly because I wanted to engage in racing.”

From 2000 to 2005, Honda once again entered the competition as an engine supplier, but the results seemed rather flat. In 2006, Honda returned to F1 as a manufacturer team and invested heavily in the 2007/08 season (a budget of 40-50 billion yen per year). The large investment did not bring them good results, but for two consecutive years. All ranked third among the 11 teams.

At the end of 2008, Honda announced its withdrawal from F1 due to the financial crisis. Fukui said at the press conference, “This is a difficult decision, but in the current economic environment, we have no choice.” Indeed, although F1's large displacement and high fuel consumption engine is a symbol of high technology, it is not Volkswagen's consumption is out of date, but small-displacement cars are becoming more and more popular.

◆Honda CIVIC participated in the World Touring Car Championship in 2012

Honda CIVIC is a model that has been used for competition since its inception. In recent years, it has been active in endurance races and touring car races in Japan, Europe and the United States.

In early February this year, Honda announced that it would participate in the World Touring Car Championship. The participating vehicle is the new CIVIC hatchback sold in the European market, and the engine is an in-line 4-cylinder 1.6-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine designed and developed by Honda.

In the 2012 season, Honda plans to only participate in the WTCC Suzuka Station in Japan, Shanghai Station in China and Macau Street Races. On the other hand, the 9th generation CIVIC racing car will continue to compete in the BTCC British Touring Car Championship for the 11th year.

◆Honda CR-Z hybrid racing car will compete in SUPER GT

Japan's SUPER GT is also an important automobile event that Honda is fully preparing for. Honda has used NSX racing cars to participate in SUPER GT since 1998. In 2007, Honda NSX swept the team and drivers double championship, and that was its most glorious moment. In 2008, five teams used Honda NSX to compete. At that time, the car used a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a maximum power of more than 500 horsepower, while the body was only 1140 kg. However, Honda's record that year was terrible, and the car modified based on the Nissan 350Z won the championship.

In 2010, Honda's HSV-010 GT race car developed specifically for the GT500 category of the SUPER GT event officially debuted. In terms of power, the car is equipped with a 3.4-liter V8 naturally aspirated engine model HR10EG with a maximum power of 500 horsepower and a peak torque of 392 Nm. The HSV-010 GT, which was born for the race track, has no frame restrictions for the mass-produced version, so aerodynamic effects can be considered more in the design. The HSV-010 GT has a body width of 2 meters, and the weight of the vehicle is controlled at 1100 kg.

In the 2012 season, the new GT300 hybrid race car based on Honda's CR-Z will compete with HSV-010 GT in the SUPER GT. This is the first time Honda has participated in the GT300 category since 2005. Although the performance parameters of the Honda CR-Z car have not been announced, the maximum power of the car is 300 horsepower in accordance with the regulations of the GT300 group. The Toyota Prius, which also uses a hybrid power system, will become an important competitor of Honda's CR-Z.

◆Honda provides engines for North American IndyCar

In overseas markets, Honda has provided engine support for North American IndyCars since 1994. In 1995, Honda won the first championship. In 1996, the 780-horsepower Honda V8 engine won 11 times in 16 races throughout the year and won the manufacturer's championship. The 2004 season was Honda's most glorious moment in the IndyCar race. In the Indy 500 race, drivers with Honda engines won the top 7 places. From 2007 to 2011, Honda became a single engine supplier for the IndyCar race. Honda provides the car with a 3.5-liter V8 naturally aspirated engine with a maximum power of 650 horsepower, which pushes the car to an extreme speed of more than 370 kilometers.

In addition, Honda also participates in other car races, such as: Japanese Formula Series, Japanese F3, American GRAND-AM sports car race and so on.

◆Honda spreads the charm of motorsports extensively

Honda is not only focusing on motorsport itself. In 1962 and 1997, Honda built two professional racing venues in Japan, the “Suzuka Circuit” and the “Motegi Double Loop Circuit”. Honda also widely conveys the charm of motorsports by organizing various relaxing and interesting activities.

●Auto Home Honda Energy Conservation Competition Documentary

The most famous among them is the annual “Honda Energy Conservation Competition”, which was officially held in 1981. Under the theme of environmental protection, participating teams can freely use their creativity, imagination and technical ability to design the car manually. , The same 1L gasoline, the longest mileage will win the championship. This year the competition will enter its 32nd year. Before that, a total of 12,336 teams participated. In 2011, it also created the highest mileage record of the competition: 3644.869km/L.

Honda Energy Conservation Competition can be seen not only in Japan, but also in China. In 2007, the Energy Conservation Competition came to China for the first time, and it has been held five times so far. The best result is 2147.269km/L in the fourth competition in 2010. The Autohome has also participated in the Honda Energy Conservation Car Competition many times, and won the general group championship twice in 2010 and 2011.

In addition, under the impetus of Honda, Honda's eldest son Hirojun Honda and Honda's fourth president Nobuhiko Kawamoto co-founded the Honda Queen's Modification Factory-Mugen Unlimited, which continuously introduced high-performance racing modification components. Mugen also continued to research and develop on the basis of the F1 engine developed by Honda. During 1992-2000, it provided the F1 team with 3.5-liter V10 engines. Honda's high-end brand Acura has participated in the Le Mans endurance race with prototype cars since 2007.

Summary: Honda Soichiro once said: “Racing cars are the best testing ground for product testing.” Every race is a challenge, not only for the racers but also for the participating vehicles themselves. The quality of the product, the strength of the brand, and the weaknesses of the models will all be reflected in the competition, which is why Honda is keen on motorsports. For decades, whether in the motorcycle field or in the automobile field, Honda has always maintained the dream of chasing speed, and this has also allowed the Honda brand to form a unique racing culture.