Honda's Racing Heritage

Racing is ingrained in the corporate culture of Honda, in a way unlike any other major automotive manufacturer in the world. A former racer himself, company founder Soichiro Honda believed in competition-at the highest possible levels-as a means of improving his company, its people and its products.

"If we're going to build cars, it's better to do the hardest work now than later," Mr. Honda said when the company first entered Formula One competition in 1964. "The best place to learn is at the highest level."

In addition, Honda always has viewed racing as an ideal training ground for engineers and designers. The pressures of racing challenge them, force them to find new solutions to problems as they arise. It also demands that you be ready on time-for the new season, for qualifying, for the race. If you can't respond quickly and correctly, you'll be left behind.

Finally, racing teaches teamwork. No single individual can bring success; racing is a group effort. And winning is the only standard by which you are judged.

Throughout its existence, on both two wheels and four, Honda has raced-and won-at the highest levels. From the Isle of Man TT motorcycle race (competing for the first time in 1959 and winning the top five classes by 1961) to Formula One Grand Prix (with 60 race victories and four consecutive Constructors' Championships from 1988-91), Hondas are found in victory lane around the world.

Other Honda championships have included four CART Manufacturers' and six consecutive drivers' titles (1996-2001); eight MotoGP motorcycle road racing world championships in the last ten years; and the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Manufacturers' and Drivers' Championships.

Honda has not confined its racing programs to fielding teams and engines-the company also has had a direct role in the creations of state-of-the-art race circuits as well. Honda began construction of its first track, Suzuka Circuit, in 1962, before it had even begun manufacturing automobiles. Today, it is the site of the Japanese Grand Prix Formula One event and the Eight-Hour endurance road race for motorcycles.

Still one of the world's major racing facilities, Suzuka was joined by the incredible new Twin Ring Motegi multi-purpose circuit, built by Honda in 1997. With multiple layouts and facilities-including the first American-style super speedway in Japan-Motegi hosted the country's first CART race in 1998 and the IRL IndyCar Series, starting in 2004.

"I think Honda has been so successful over the years because of the way they go about working," said former Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham. "They're a team. They want to do it, and they always seem to have a goal which they want to drive for. Everything they've done competition-wise for more than 50 years, it's incredible."