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.

Photo

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

A System that Fosters Expertise
  1. A System that Fosters ExpertiseA System that Fosters Expertise
  2. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
  3. Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification  / 1960Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  1. A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the WorldA Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  2. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  3. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  4. Introducing N360 / 1967Introducing N360 / 1967
  5. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  6. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  7. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  8. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
Marketing Globally, Producing Lacally
  1. Marketing Globally, Producing LocallyMarketing Globally, Producing Locally
  2. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959
  3. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  4. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
A Refreshing New Development
  1. A Refreshing New DevelopmentA Refreshing New Development
Products Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  1. Products Emerging From Technology and InnovationProducts Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  2. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  7. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  8. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  9. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  10. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  11. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  12. Road Pal / 1976Road Pal / 1976
  13. City / 1981City / 1981
  14. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
  15. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  16. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  17. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  18. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  19. The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
Production Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufacturing
  1. Production Technology: The Essence of Creative ManufaturingProduction Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufaturing
  2. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  3. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  4. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  5. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
A Neverending Passion for Racing
  1. A Neverending Passion for RacingA Neverending Passion for Racing
  2. Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962
  3. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  4. Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964
  5. Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983
  6. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  7. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
Creativity - The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  1. Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  2. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  1. People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with NaturePeople and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  2. 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
  3. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  4. Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991

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