News Releases 2001
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CorporateJapanJanuary 29, 2001
Promotion & Personnel Training Activities

Motor Sports Promotion Activities

Honda is dedicated to working closely with motor racing facilities and specialist companies to provide people with opportunities to watch, join, and enjoy a variety of motor sports events. Together with companies like Suzuka Circuitland Co., Ltd., Twin Ring Motegi Co., Ltd., and Honda Racing Corporation, the company will continue to develop an environment that gives more people a better chance to enjoy all that motor sports have to offer.


Motorcycle Racing Promotion Activities

To aid the expansion of grassroots two-wheeled motor sports, Honda will organize a wide variety of events for motorcycle riders, including those who do not own their own racing or kid-sized machines. The company will cooperate closely with dealers, distributors, and local communities in conducting events designed to offer more opportunities and a better environment for people to enjoy the sport potential inherent in motorcycles. In support of these activities (many of which are described below) Honda will work hard to supply purpose-built racing machines, motor sport-oriented base models, and kits and parts for modification activities.

The 21st "Soichiro Honda Cup" Honda National Econo-Power Competition

Last year's Econo-Power Competition held on September 30 and October 1, 2000 celebrated the event's 20th anniversary with entries by 518 specially designed vehicles (some from as far away as China, Thailand, and Russia) competing to achieve ultimate fuel economy on the Super Speedway course at Twin Ring Motegi. The winner of this special 20th anniversary event was "Team Vient" in Group 2 (open class), which broke a seven-year record with an astonishing 3,165.987 kilometers per liter.

This important competition continues anew in this first year of the 21st century as Twin Ring Motegi once again hosts contestants from Japan and abroad on September 23 and 24.


Support for Promotion of New Road Race Categories

The Motorcycle Federation of Japan (MFJ) will introduce several new categories designed to stimulate further interest in motorcycle racing. These new categories include the National, Regional and Area Championships, as well as a new ST600 class in the Suzuka 4-Hour Endurance Race, an event supporting the legendary Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance Race.

Honda will lend its support for the MFJ's new category by offering a racing-oriented CBR600F that spirited amateur riders will be able to race in competitions after removing parts and components included to meet roadworthiness requirements. All Honda dealers and distributors nationwide will be accepting orders for this CBR600F. Other kinds of support will also be provided for a wide range of riders intending to participate in the 4-hour competition.


"Come-and-Join" Events

Mini-Bike Races
Mini-bike races will be held at kart and mini circuits using production-model 50cc motorcycles. These races will be organized on an ongoing basis by local distributors and based on regulations designed specifically to allow easy participation by riders of all experience levels.

"Parent-and-Child" Riding Meetings
Offered for primary school children and their parents at four Traffic Education Centers and Tama Tech amusement park, these events use motorcycles as a medium for parents to teach their children about the joy of riding, while also communicating with them about the importance of social rules and traffic manners. This basic concept has remained unchanged since the event was inaugurated in 1994. A total of 2,444 people enjoyed participating in 186 Parent-and-Child Riding Meetings throughout 2000.

Honda "Dream Kids" School
Honda "Dream Kids" educational events are designed to give youngsters opportunities to experience the joy of handling off-road motorcycles. They aim to give students a fuller understanding of traffic rules and proper riding manners, teach them how to work with and ride motorcycles in the real world, and also teach the importance of environmental preservation. Regional local distributors will be responsible for organizing events in their areas, supported by Honda's offering of several off-road motorcycle models including the XR50, XR70 and XR100.

Honda Sport-Riding School
Under the slogan of "bring your bike and brush up your riding skills," this one-day training program will be held at fifty sites throughout Japan. During the class participants come to understand and acknowledge their own limits as well as the limits of their machines as they explore the essence of smarter, safer riding and techniques to improve their control while riding. Additionally, Team Mari (Representative: Mari Igata), in cooperation with Honda, will offer special training programs oriented to the needs of women riders. Training for those intending to apply for the International 'A' license will also be conducted. Participants are required to have a valid medium/large motorcycle license and must supply their own motorcycle. The number of sessions will be increased this year.

Honda Motorcyclist School (HMS)
Eight Traffic Education Centers will organize HMS programs for a variety of levels from novice to experienced, with professional instructors on hand to impart a wide range of basic and advanced motorcycle-riding knowledge and know-how. In 2000, 8,396 riders participated in 638 HMS events, and total participation since the program's conception in 1978 has now reached 130,000.


Automobile Racing Promotion Activities

Civic Single-Make Races

The Civic Single-Make Races, which were one of the first nationwide single-make competitions, continue to provide enthusiasts with racing opportunities, with the aim of promoting motor sports and contributing to the evolution of motor sports culture. Last year, a total of 26 such events in five regional series attracted over 800 entrants. The Civic Challenge Cup Race, held at Suzuka Circuit as a special event during the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, is well known as a national festival for Civic racers.

Civic single-make races will be held in five local regions, centered around the 6-round "Civic Intercup Series", which travels to six major domestic racetracks. Originally established in 1981 at Suzuka Circuit, the excitement and enjoyment will be greater than ever as Civic single-make racing enters its twenty-first season this year.

The overall Civic Single-Make series consist of 29 races held in several regions. These include five races in the Tohoku (North-Eastern) series, six in the Higashi Nippon (Eastern) series, six in the Suzuka series and five in the Nishi Nippon (Western) series, plus the special feature "Civic Challenge Cup Race" held in the presence of Formula 1 team officials and drivers as part of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.


2001 Civic Single-Make Race Series (provisional)
Series Name Races Venues
Intercup Series 6 SUGO, Twin Ring Motegi, FISCO, Suzuka Circuit, MINE, and Tsukuba
Tohoku (North-Eastern) Series 5 Sendai Highland and SUGO
Higashi Nippon (Eastern) Series 6 Twin Ring Motegi, FISCO, and Tsukuba
Suzuka Series 6 Suzuka Circuit
Nishi Nippon (Western) Series 5 MINE
Subtotal: 28  
FIA Formula 1 World Championship,
Japanese Grand Prix, Civic Challenge
Cup Race
Suzuka Circuit
Total: 29  

"Enjoy 'A'-License" Events

The "Enjoy 'A'-License" events give driving license holders two days of experience toward obtaining the JAF National 'B' and National 'A' Competition licenses, a program that has proved popular among racing enthusiasts. To meet the increasing demand, Twin Ring Motegi and Suzuka Circuit will organize six and eight such events, respectively, in 2001.

Honda Driving Meetings

Honda Driving meetings are designed to help owners of specific Honda automobiles get the most out of their driving experience. They offer a wide variety of events including basic driving safety instruction, racetrack experience, and the chance to ride in the passenger seat with a professional driver, all of which aim to enhance the safe-driving knowledge and skills of participants through a variety of highly enjoyable, dynamic experiences.

Honda Driving Meetings:
  • NSX Owner's Meeting
  • Integra Type-R Concept Meeting
  • Civic Type-R Concept Meeting
  • S2000 Driving Forum




Personnel Training Activities

Honda embraces the challenge of cultivating top-class Japanese riders and drivers from young motor sports enthusiasts, with the long-term goal of enabling them to go on to compete in the most prestigious pinnacles of racing, including MotoGP, Formula 1, and CART. In collaboration with Suzuka Circuit and Twin Ring Motegi, the company will continue to offer a variety of educational programs and support for both motorcycle and automobile racers.



Motorcycle Rider Training Programs

Honda Off-Road School

Honda Off-Road School
Classes will be held nationwide for both novice riders (including women and kids) and advanced riders who are participating, or intend to participate, in Motocross and Enduro events.

Honda Trial School
Classes will be held nationwide for a wide variety of riders, in support of Honda's conviction that the skills required for trial events are rooted in balance, which is also a fundamental element of safer, more enjoyable motorcycle riding.

HRC Meetings

HRC Meetings held throughout Japan will offer ideal opportunities for determined motocross and trial riders to improve their skill and knowledge. The instructional staff made up of HRC factory riders, engineers, and technicians provide expert education on ways to improve both physical and mental strength, information on setting up motorcycles, and training to help build and improve riding skills.

Support for SRS-J Organized by Suzuka Circuitland

Honda will continue to support the Suzuka Racing School-Junior (SRS-J) rider-training program designed by Suzuka Circuitland. Entering its 9th year in 2001, SRS-J has already borne fruit, many of its graduates having become major forces in the Japanese Road Race Championship Series. Further, the SRS-J program has been revised and renewed this year to offer an enhanced curriculum and content.


Automobile Driver Training Programs

Taking a long-term view, Honda, in close relationship with Suzuka Circuit and Twin Ring Motegi, continues to work hard to offer training opportunities designed to help young racers become "the best of the best" as future contenders in the world's top-level racing categories. By combining the efforts of Honda and top racing facilities, a systematic approach has been established for achieving this goal, including a two-step program that begins with the Suzuka Racing School-Formula (SRS-F) as the first phase, followed by Formula Dream (FD). Scholarships offered to graduates with outstanding performance in Formula Dream (the final step to becoming a professional racer) provide entry to the Formula 3000 racing category both in Japan and abroad. Takuma Sato, the newly nominated BAR-Honda Formula 1 test driver, and Tsugio Matsuda, recent Formula Nippon winner, are only two examples of recent graduates.


Support for Formula Dream (FD)

Formula Dream is a special race series designed as an advanced program to follow SRS-F. Structured as a one-year comprehensive training program, the series provides trainees with both lectures on a variety of racing-related topics and opportunities to take part in actual competitions. Through these, participants are able to improve their driving skills, strategies and tactics, learn how to train themselves for top mental and physical fitness as athletes, and develop a deep knowledge of both racing machines and races. Formula Dream, as a mid-level formula car race series, is overseen by the Formula Dream Organization (FDO), which was established to organize the series and maintain its effectiveness in achieving its aims. The FDO is also responsible for handling scholarships offered to prospective graduates. Kosuke Matsuura, winner of the 2000 scholarship, will participate in the German Formula 3000 Championship in 2001.

The Formula Dream race calendar has been restructured for its third year, resulting in a two-race, one-event schedule series. This, in conjunction with more testing opportunities, including the pre-season open-to-public test and five official tests, is intended to guarantee even further exposure to as much racing and test experience as possible.

2001 Formula Dream Calendar (provisional schedule of 13 races at 7 events)
Rounds
Date Race Track Event Name
1 & 2 Apr. 20 - 22
Twin Ring Motegi
Formula Nippon Rd. 2 Support
3 & 4 May 11 - 13
Suzuka Circuit
Super Endurance Rd. 3 Support
5 & 6 June 8 - 10
Suzuka Circuit
Suzuka Clubman Race Support
7 & 8 June 29 - July 1
Suzuka Circuit
East Course
Formula Nippon Rd. 5 Support
9 & 10 Sept. 14 - 16
Twin Ring Motegi
Japanese GT Championship Rd. 5 Support
11 Oct. 12 - 14
Suzuka Circuit
Super Challenge Race Supporting the Fuji TV Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix
12 & 13 Nov. 16 - 18
Suzuka Circuit
Formula Nippon Rd. 10 Support

Support for SRS-K and SRS-F

Honda will continue to support kart racing and formula car training programs (such as SRS-K and SRS-F) offered by Suzuka Circuitland. The Suzuka Formula Racing School (SRS-F), established in 1995 as Japan's first serious training program for formula car drivers, has already paved the way for up-and-coming drivers such as Takuma Sato and Tsugio Matsuda. Sato will be busy from now as a BAR-Honda Formula 1 test driver, and Matsuda, following a sensational win in his debut season in Formula Nippon, is expected to become a serious contender for the top position in Japanese racing.

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