Since its beginning, Honda has strived to reach the pinnacle in its motorsports challenges. In 1954, to realize his dream of becoming the world’s best company, founder Soichiro Honda declared the company’s entry into the Isle of Man TT in the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (WGP), the premier class at the time. For the next five years, Honda developed the racing machines, and on June 3, 1959, became the first Japanese Motorcycle Manufacturer to enter the Isle of Man TT. Since Junzo Suzuki, Naomi Taniguchi, Giichi Suzuki and Teisuke Tanaka rode their RC142 racing bikes in the 125cc class, 60 years have passed.
Honda’s history of challenging the pinnacle of motorsports is not limited to the two-wheeled category; In 1964, Ronnie Bucknum raced his RA271 in the premier four-wheeled racing category, the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1), at the German Grand Prix. Not only has Honda continued to compete at the pinnacle of motorsports, it has competed in the various two and four-wheeled racing categories to hone its technologies and nurture its people. Sharing the fun, the joy, and the thrill with it customers.
On this 60th year since the Isle of Man TT marking the beginning of Honda’s motorsports history, Honda will be holding numerous “Honda Racing Anniversary Year” events to commemorate its history, and share its joy with all its customers and motorsports fans who have supported its racing activities for six decades. These events aim to share Honda’s purpose and history in racing with the current, and next, generation.
Images from Honda’s first world grand prix races
Ronnie Bucknum (RA271) in the 1964 German Grand Prix
Naomi Taniguchi (RC142) in the 1959 Isle of Man TT
Honda Racing Anniversary Year events
WGP 60th anniversary ceremony
Ceremony commemorates Honda’s 60th anniversary of its entry in the Isle of Man TT, with special guests.
Time and date: 11:45am, Friday, June 28
Venue: Repsol Honda Team hospitality area, TT Circuit Assen paddock
Speakers: Jorge Viegas (FIM President)
Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna Sports C.E.O)
Kunimitsu Takahashi (1961 German Grand Prix winner, first Japanese to win a grand prix)
Freddie Spencer (Became the youngest champion by winning the 1983 GP500 class, the first to win both the GP250 and GP500 classes, in 1985)
Mick Doohan (Winner of five consecutive GP500 class championships, from 1994 to 1998)
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)
Tetsuhiro Kuwata (Honda Racing Corporation Race Operations Director)
Racing machines will display WGP 60th anniversary logo
The WGP 60th anniversary logo will appear on the RC213V factory bikes competing in the MotoGP class, and also on racing machines competing in the FIM Superbike World Championship, the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race (Round 5, FIM Endurance World Championship), other road racing, trial and motocross categories, and four-wheeled categories.
Moto3 60th anniversary livery
Honda Team Asia, competing in the Moto3 category, will race their machines at the Dutch TT (From June 28) with livery from the RC143 that gave Honda its first WGP win in 1961.
WGP 60th anniversary demonstration run
Demonstration runs of the RC142 (replica) entered into the Isle of Man TT, and the NSR500.
Time and date: 1:21pm – 1:26pm, Sunday June 30
Venue: TT Circuit Assen race track
Bikes / riders: RC142 (replica from 1959 Isle of Man TT / Kunimitsu Takahash
NSR500 (1989 model) / Mick Doohan
Demonstration runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Celebrating Honda’s 60th anniversary of WGP racing, demonstration runs of the RC142, NSR500, and RC213V racing bikes, and the McLaren Honda MP4/4 (winning machine of the 1988 Formula One Driver’ and Constructors’ championships) at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (July 4 – 7, United Kingdom).
Celebration events will also be held at the Suzuka 8 Hours and the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix. Details will be announced on Honda’s website, etc.