Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994

Honda: Carrying the Challenging Spirit Across the Ocean

Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994

The Motive Behind the Indy Decision

"Wow, what speed! This is the race where engine performance counts most. If Honda participates in any U.S. racing event, it has to be this one."

Michihiro Asaka, who saw his first Indy 500 race in 1987, was deeply inspired by what he had witnessed. Working for Honda R&D North America (HRA) at the time, Asaka had seen several Indy Car races at Long Beach, California where the cars streak through the city's streets. However, he had never seen a race on an oval course such as the Indy 500, where machines fly at more than 350 km per hour. He was immediately fascinated by the sheer speed of it.

The Motive Behind the Indy Decision

A heated battle was fought on the oval course in Michigan, 1996.

Koichi Amemiya and Tom Elliot, president and executive vice president of American Honda (AH), had envisioned a plan. AH had already implemented various measures to expand its car sales in the U.S., the world's largest market. However, it was not yet involved in any local motor sports events. In Japan Honda was known for its years of involvement in racing, but in America, with its popular Accord and Civic models, Honda was simply thought of as one of many manufacturers of passenger cars. But Amemiya wanted to change that image by demonstrating Honda's strengths in motor sports and the spirit of competition it brought to every race. And at this point Amemiya's desire and Asaka's inspiration found their convergence.

In 1989 Amemiya and Asaka were both watching the Indy 500 race from the stands. Excited, the two found a congenial spirit in each other, each vowing that he would do whatever it took to compete in the race.

The research center in Wako (HGW) soon began a research project devoted to the design and development of a prototype Indy engine. Unfortunately, Honda had been going through difficulties with the F-1 series in which the company was then competing. As a result, the testing of Indy car engines was halted and the Indy project staff members were reassigned to F-1 in order to assist the team.

Asaka was undaunted, however, and saw this turn of events more as an opportunity than a setback. Although engine development had been stopped, there was nothing that kept them from doing the planning. So, Asaka drafted several plans based on Honda's Indy strategy, proceeding with preparations so that development could resume as soon as a go-ahead was given.

Asaka reorganized the development team for the Indy Car racing engine when, in September of 1992, the company announced its temporary withdrawal from F-1. The following January, Amemiya used the occasion of the Detroit Auto Show to announce Honda's plan to enter the PPG Indy Car World Series. Standing there next to Amemiya, Asaka said to himself, "This is the race we do for the American people. As such, I want all employees at American Honda to understand their company's challenging spirit and apply all they will learn from Honda's involvement in the race. This is the principal objective of our entry in the Indy Car series, just as our objective of F-1 competition was the furtherance of engineering skill and knowledge at the research center."

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

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