Honda-The Power of Dreams
Honda Motorsports Plans for 1998 (Automobile)

Tokyo, January 20, 1998 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced today the following 4-wheel Motorsports Activity Plan for 1998, with Enjoy It as its main theme.

In 1997, Honda monopolized the top three positions in the PPG Cup (Drivers Champion Title) to win its second PPG CART World Series title in a row. On the domestic front, participation in the All Japan Touring Car Championship (JTCC) with the Accord led to the double title of Team and Drivers Champion, while entry in the All Japan GT Championship (JGTC) saw a number of battles and victories in the second half of the season. Other entries in Europe, America and Asia also led to many victories, highlighting another very successful season at home and abroad.

This year's program in North America calls for Honda Performance Development's (HPD) continued participation in the FedEx Championship Series, this year again in the role of engine supplier with a new engine for the season. In Europe, participation in the German ADAC Super Touring Car Race, as well as the British Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship will take place in the form of technical support to local teams.

In Japan, Honda will continue its promotion of racing activities through the one-make Civic races organized this year in five series and 34 races plus the F-1 Japan Grand Prix Civic Challenge Cup Race for a grand total of 35 races this season. The Honda One-make Motorsports Festival will continue as a series of 10 events widely open to the public. This year will also see the start in Japan of the Honda Logo License Course and One-make Race series, and of the City One-make Race in Thailand.

Honda will continue its technical support of Mugen Co., Ltd. in both F-1 engine development and the NSX's participation in the All Japan GT Championship.

At Twin Ring Motegi, work is proceeding toward the grand opening and the FedEx Championship Series' Budweiser 500 race scheduled in March 1998. This year again, Honda will continue its positive involvement in the development of motorsports activities, sharing the dreams and excitement with all the fans.

ACTIVITIES OUTLINE

Overseas Activities

1) USA

  • FedEx Championship Series
    Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will enter the Series by supplying the newly developed Honda Indy V-8 HRK engine to four teams entering a total of six cars. The teams' names are Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, Walker Racing, Team KOOL Green, and Tasman Motorsports Group.

2) Europe

  • Touring Car Races in each country
    Honda Motor Europe Ltd., will provide technical support to teams participating in the Touring Car Championship Series held in both Germany, and the U.K. The car used for these events will be the Accord manufactured by Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited.

Further Promotion of Entry-Level Events

  • Civic One-make Races.
    They will be divided into five series comprising of a total of 34 races plus the F-1 Japan Grand Prix Civic Challenge Cup race for a grand total of 35 races scheduled in 1998.

  • Honda One-make Motorsports Festivals.
    Ten such festivals are planned from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

  • Honda Logo License Course and One-make Races (tentative name).
    A complete program from obtainment of the JAF race license to first race entry will be offered using Honda Logos. The program is composed of classes to obtain JAF's race license, practice sessions on circuits and the organization of Logo one-make races.

  • City-R One-make Races (Thailand)
    Five races featuring the locally produced City will be held in Thailand.

Young Drivers Education

  • Continued support of the Suzuka Formula Racing School (SRS-F).

Technical Support

  • Technical assistance to Mugen Co., Ltd. for F1 engines as well as JGTC related NSX engine/body development.

Overseas Activities

1) USA

  • FedEx Championship Series
    Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will participate in the newly renamed FedEx Championship Series this year again in the role of engine supplier. The newly developed Honda Indy V-8 "HRK Series" will be supplied to the 1996 and 1997 PPG Cup title-holder Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, Walker Racing, Team KOOL Green, and Tasman Motorsports Group for a four-team six-car participation this season. On the drivers' side, Honda this year welcomes the arrival of Paul Tracy, Dario Franchitti and rookie Tony Kanaan.
TEAM STRUCTURE

Team Name Driver Chassis/Tires
Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Jimmy Vasser (USA) Reynard/Firestone
Alex Zanardi (Italy)
Walker Racing Gil de Ferran (Brazil) Reynard/Goodyear
Team KOOL Green Paul Tracy (Canada) Reynard/Firestone
Dario Franchitti (U.K.)
Tasman Motorsports Group Tony Kanaan (Brazil) Reynard/Firestone

ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS:

Engine Series: HRK
Construction: Liquid-cooled 32-Valve DOHC Turbocharged V8
Displacement: 2.65 liter
Fuel Injection: Motorola Honda PGM-FI
Ignition: Motorola Honda CDI
Fuel: Methanol
Lubrication : Dry sump
Transmission: six forward gears/one reverse gear
Maximum Power: Over 750 PS (at 40-inch boost pressure)

2) Europe

Touring Car Races

Honda Motor Europe Ltd., will support teams entering the Touring Car Championship Series held in Germany, and the UK. The car used in these events will be the Accord manufactured by Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited. Supply will be assured by Prodrive.

TEAM STRUCTURE

Team Driver Machine Maintenance Tires
Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)
Team Honda Sport James Thompson Honda Accord Prodrive Michelin
Peter Kox
ADAC German Super Touring Car Championship (STW-Cup)
Team Honda Sport Gabriele Tarquini Honda Accord JAS Engineering Michelin
Tom Kristensen

Further Promotion of Entry-Level Events

Honda has long been committed to the democratization of motorsports activities, from the organization of Civic one-make races since 1981, to the Honda One-make Motorsports Festivals started only two years ago. The Honda Logo License Course and One-make Race is a new program organized for both those wishing to move up from the One-make Motorsports Festivals and those who have the wish to participate in motorsports activities but do not know how to go about it.

  • Honda One-make Motorsports Festivals.
    As one of the most open to the public motorsports activities, Honda One-make Motorsports Festivals are planned again this year to include not only pure sports cars like the NSX and the Integra Type R, but also minicars, and even RVs. A total of ten such festivals are planned throughout Japan this year.

  • Honda Logo License Course and One-make Race Program.
    This program is organized to let a wider portion of the general public have access and enjoy motorsports activities. It provides complete beginners with information and assistance on how to obtain a license or enter a race. This is a one-package program taking the participant from classes on how to obtain a race license to participation to his/her first race. Honda Logos in one-make specification form are used for both training and actual racing. This program will be offered at both Suzuka Circuit and Twin Ring Motegi.

    Details of the program:

    1. Classes leading to the obtainment of a JAF "Domestic B" race license.
    2. Practice runs in preparation to the entry in a speed event (gymkhana, etc.).
    3. Entry in a speed event (gymkhana, etc.) to qualify for a license upgrade to Domestic A.
    4. Classes leading to the obtainment of a JAF Domestic A race license.
    5. Obtainment of a circuit license.
    6. Circuit practice runs
    7. First race participation (Logo One-make Race) (steps 1 through 5 will be covered over a two-day session)
    Vehicles used:
    Honda Logo in one-make race specification.

    Venues:
    Suzuka Circuit
    Twin Ring Motegi

  • Civic One-make Races.
    The Civic One-make Race series is organized to promote car racing by giving the general public a chance to directly participate in motorsports activities. As such it has not only played a pioneering role in the history of one-make races in Japan, but also increased the appeal and broadened the base of motorsports in this country. The 1997 season marked the tenth anniversary of this one-make race, which has now developed into 5 series, for a total of 34 races organized and a total of some 900 participants. The F1 Japan Grand Prix Civic Challenge Cup Race organized as a support event for the Grand Prix of Japan Formula 1 race has now developed into a yearly event among Civic racers, further showing the broad appeal this series has been able to muster. Last year also saw the introduction of the Civic Type R one make base model to further promote participation by an ever-larger following.

    Seventeen years after the first Civic race was held in Suzuka, this broad public appeal has allowed Civic one-make races to be organized into five different series including the Honda Civic Intercup Series which is the only one-make race in Japan that counts seven races organized on six different tracks.

    This year's schedule is composed of the North-East Series (six races), the Eastern Japan Series (six races), the Suzuka Clubman Race Series (nine races), and the Western Japan Series (six races). To this must be added the above-mentioned F1 Japan Grand Prix Civic Challenge Cup Race at the time of the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Japan for a total of 35 exciting races this season.