Retrospective>>production Hondas In Motorsport

There is something special about Honda as compared to other large automakers. It’s hard to put a finger on it exactly, but I think it has something to do with how motorsport has been ingrained in the brand since its earliest days. In the early to mid 1960’s for example, Honda drew more worldwide attention from its Formula One racing program than from any of its production cars.

There have been some truly great Honda race cars over the years, and we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of these machines. Honda’s history in open-wheel and Formula racing could be an entirley separate story, so we’ll keep this post limited to GT, touring, and other production-based race cars.

The first Honda road car to be developed for motorsports was the S600 and S800. The little car even made its way to the Nurburgring, where it was driven by Tetsu Ikuzawa in the 1967 500km race. Honda’s experience with racing motorcycles was put to good use in these early race cars.

Honda’s Racing Service Club (think Mugen predecessor) tuned this S800 for racing use. The car can currently be found at Honda’s Collection Hall at Twin Ring Motegi. The place is a must visit for any fan of Honda or Japanese automobiles in general.

The Civic might not have been designed as a sports car, but it quickly found its place among racers. Here’s the TS Yamato Civic.

The TS races were known more for the rear-drive Starlets and Sunnys, but the Civics more than held their own on the track.

Moving to the 1980s one of the more iconic Honda race cars that comes to mind is the Group A ’87 Motul Mugen Civic Si. This is another car which can be found in the Collection Hall at Motegi. In case you missed it, make sure you check out the spotlight we did on a replica of this car.

Here’s one of Honda’s lesser known race cars from the ’80s – the City Turbo R in all of its flared glory.

Now moving to the 1990’s and we have the Group A JACCS EG Civic, which could be seen on the track alongside Group A legends like the R32 GTR and E30 M3.

How bitchin’ is this livery? Good times back in the ’90s.

In 1994 came the introduction of the Japanese Touring Car Championship. Again, Honda was a major participant first with Civics, and later with Accords. The Accords were very impressive machines for any class, powered by reversed head front midship H22A’s.

Naoki Hattori in the JACCS Accord. Slammed suspension, huge wheels, full contact racing – just a few reasons why touring cars are awesome.

The Castrol Mugen JTCC Accord, also preserved at the Collection Hall.

Over in Europe Hondas could also be seen in series like the BTCC, I’ve got fond memories of watching these races on “Speedvision” as a kid and being hooked. Andy B should be along shortly with a closer look at Honda in BTCC.

Here in the United States, the orange and white Acuras of Real Time Racing have been become synonymous with Honda touring car racing. First it was the Integra Type R’s…

…then the RSX…

…and more recently with the TSX sedan.

In Japan the JTCC had folded by the late ’90s, but Hondas can still be seen in Super Taikyu and other endurance race events.

Here’s a Super Taikyu FD2 on display in Honda’s booth at TAS a couple years ago.

It’s not just Civics that run in the series though, you’ll also find the S2000.

Even the NSX can be seen.

Another Japanese series that needs to be mentioned are the Civic One Make races, with identical cars going head to head.

These races offer close action and a great launching pad for young drivers. I’m not sure what exactly will happen with now that the CIvic has been discontinued from the Japanese market…

Honda might be one the last manufacturers you associate with rally racing, but sure enough the JAS Civic Type R Euro has taken the racing off the pavement.

Of course we couldn’t leave out one of Honda’s most famous racing ventures – the GT Class NSX’s that were campaigned at Le Mans in the mid ’90s.

One of the pilot’s for the NSX Le Mans program was a certain Keiichi Tsuchiya. You can read more about Dorikin’s Le Mans exploits in this retrospective piece.

Finally we have Honda’s participation in JGTC and later Super GT. The NSX saw action in both the GT300 and GT500 classes before being replaced by the new HSV-010 GT for the 2010 season.

By the way Honda, we are still waiting for a street version of this car!

I’m sure there are some Honda race cars that are missing, but as you can see the company has had a very rich history of production-based auto racing.

With the hybrid and electric movement taking over, you can bet that Honda will be one of the key companies bringing motorsport into this new era. I’m certainly fascinated to see what will happen next.

-Mike Garrett

Photo Sources –

http://www.mmjp.or.jp/60srace/TETSUCOMEBACK3.html

http://www2.tokai.or.jp/sunny/81-10-11.htm

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/rgohsumi/23097334.html

http://tohoboeki.seesaa.net/category/7843798-1.html

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19 comments

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1

Excellent info and pics. Let's see a feature on some cars from Feels to buddy club. They are icons in the industry as well.

2

Love this post !!

3

yeah i'd love to see a road going version of the HSV-010 GT, now that would be something! - some good quality Hondas here. gotta say i love those City Turbo's.. i all but forgot about those little pocket rockets. Hon. mention:- The Honda S800. - thanks for this retrospective blog.

4

That Accord BTCC needs a feature on that engine.

Reverse mounted H22 head if i believe?

5

despite all of the bad industry news with BM HKS USA and the EVO/Eclipse going out I did read that the JTCC is comming back in 2012 - w00t!



6

that JACCS EG Civic is a civic you dont want to f*ck with that sh*it is fast

7

Lots of iconic cars here. I remember seeing the JACCS Accord, its colorful exterior caught my attention its still a beautiful car in my opinion. The engineering they have in those touring cars is ridiculous, a lot of items were one off pieces of art.

Super Taikyu is the most appealing race series to me because of how close the cars were to factory specs while focusing mostly on durability.

The cars were still stripped down for racing and the necessary suspension,brake, etc parts were added but for the most part, they still resembled their factory counterparts well.

The Realtime Racing ITR, TSX, RSX, and their NSX.



Honda's participation in Formula One translated into their street cars such as technologies and design.

With Honda racing still going strong, we should see more cars such as the CR-Z keep its racing spirit alive.



Go Honda!

8

There is something special about why Mike Garret always uses this phrase (lol, no offence).



Love that Castrol Mugen Accord.

9

great article! was a honda fan ever since i was young.



I still don't know why Honda would stop producing the Civic though, especially on it's native soil.....sadness....

10

A JACCS EG Civic ,Gran Turismo 2 ^______^

11

no Civic EG 4doors Ferio photos???

12

Great post and very nice Hondas! Seeing those JTCC Accords made me remember watching my uncle playing Gran Turismo 2 using an Accord that was race modified to look like that. If i remember it had around 240hp. Plus, it looked great too because of the livery! (although i forgot the sponsors)

13

The more i know, more i fall in love with this brand. and as well you say my friend im waiting for the street version of the wonderful, ,magnificent, unsurpassable HSV 10! what a machine! DEAM THE SOUND! haha ok

14

As for rally racing, there is also Jazz/Fit in Australia - they won first and second places in FWD class last year.

15
Rodrigo Fernandez

The accord jtcc uses a F20b with reverse head by Neil Brown Engineering. Not an h22

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