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Honda 2014 Motorsports Program Overview

Tokyo, Feb 7, 2014 - (JCN Newswire) - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced its 2014 motorsports strategy and initiatives for expanding the popularity of motorsports.

Since the days of its founding, Honda has always considered racing as a key driving force, tackling motorsports challenges across the globe and achieving a wealth of victories along the way, while using racing as an experimental plot for technologies that would sow the seeds of the company's overall growth. The racing spirit fostered in this process is alive today in all of Honda's products and technical development.

Honda's corporate slogan is "The Power of Dreams." Honda will realize these dreams together with its customers by putting more power behind its motorsports activities so that through racing it can bring fun, joy and excitement to more people around the world.

Motorsports Strategy

- Motorcycle activities -

In the MotoGP, the premier class of the FIM[1] Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Series, Honda turned in a "triple crown" by taking all three titles last season - the riders', team, and constructors' championships. Farther afield, Honda's factory team also competed in the Dakar 2014 in January of this year and marked its steady progress by winning 6 out of the rally's 13 stages in only its second year of participation. This year, Honda engages as Team HRC in the FIM Motocross World Championship Series (MXGP, formerly WMX) and FIM Trial World Championship Series (WCT).

Based on our desire to satisfy the expectations of many customers and fans as a manufacturer of motorcycles in all categories, we at Honda are determined to raise our commitment to the four categories of road racing, motocross, trials world championships, and the newly added the Dakar.

In the MotoGP, the Repsol Honda Team will again put forward the lineup of Marc Marquez, who made history last year as the youngest champion ever in his very first season of MotoGP competition, paired with Dani Pedrosa who won the 3rd place. Repsol Honda Team aims to win the three titles for the second season running. In addition to its factory team[2], two satellite teams[3] will be equipped with machines supplied by Honda, for a total of three teams and four riders representing Honda in the MotoGP.

In the premier MXGP (450 cc) class of the FIM Motocross World Championship Series (MXGP, formerly the WMX), Honda will compete with its new Team HRC. In another new start this season, Honda will race the new CRF450RW factory machine, and with the two riders of Evgeny Bobryshev and Maximilian Nagel aims to create a team that can take the podium at any given race.

In the FIM[1] Trial World Championship Series (WCT), inheriting the spirit of glorious Repsol Montessa Team, the new Repsol Honda Team will compete as the Honda's factory team, racing two Cota 4RT machines equipped with 4-stroke engines. The team will feature the two riders of Toni Bou, the dominant champion for the past seven years, and Takahisa Fujinami, the only Japanese rider in WCT racing, as it eyes the championship again with this solid WTC lineup.

Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) will be active not only in top-notch racing of this caliber but also in the promotion of commercially available racing machines. The RCV1000R, which will be raced by four riders representing three different teams in the new MotoGP Open category, will be put on the market by HRC. HRC also plans to launch the CRF450 Rally from the Dakar by the end of this year. Through these actions, Honda aims to provide equivalent machines or near-twins of its factory team machines to more and more customers, as part of its efforts to further expand the popularity of motorcycle racing.

- Automobile activities -

In the FIA[4] World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) last year, Honda won four races and the manufacturers' title, even though it was its first full year participation. Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team, a Honda factory team, will again feature Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro as its drivers this season. Among private teams, in addition to Zengo Motorsport of Hungary, Proteam Racing will also be supplied with Honda Civic WTCC. Honda's three teams and their four drivers aim to capture the dual titles of drivers' and manufacturers' championships.

Beginning this season, Takuya Izawa will compete for the France-based racing team ART Grand Prix in the GP2 Series[5], recognized as a gateway to the FIA[4] Formula One World Championship (F1). Izawa demonstrated great performance last season in the SUPER GT (GT500) Series and the Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA Series. His participation in the GP2 Series is a part of a Honda project for turning out more Japanese F1 drivers. Through collaboration with McLaren Racing, Honda will create more opportunities to encourage Japanese drivers to succeed on a global scale.

In the SUPER GT Series, new regulations are planned for the GT500 class, where Honda will compete with its NSX CONCEPT-GT equipped with a 2.0 liter inline 4-cylinder direct injection turbo engine and a racing hybrid system, in its attempt to recapture the dual title of drivers' and team championships with its five teams and five machines. Now in its second season of full participation in the GT300 class, Honda will continue its support for two teams, supplying them with a racing hybrid system the CR-Z GT equipped with the machine that won the last year's title.

In the Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA Series, where it captured the drivers' championship last season, Honda now aims for the dual titles of drivers' and team championships and will race a 2.0 liters inline 4-cylinder direct injection turbo engine meeting the new regulations.

In the IndyCar(R) Series, Takuma Sato became the first Japanese driver ever to win a race last year. Now in his fifth season, he will again compete for A.J. Foyt Racing.

For the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1)[4], which Honda will rejoin in the 2015 season, the company is making steady progress in developing the power unit. In January 2014 Honda moved its motor sports development base from the Automobile R&D Center of Honda R&D Co., Ltd. (at Haga-machi, Haga-gun in Tochigi Prefecture) to a newly situated area in its facility in Sakura City (also in Tochigi), in a move to further strengthen its development organization for F1 and other races.

At Honda's European base for F1 activity in Milton Keynes, U.K., installation of the dynamo and assembly facilities will be completed in June 2014 to further reinforce the already solid setup in preparation for racing.

Read the complete release with related details, including Motorsports Promotion Activities, Motorcycle Racing Strategy and Automobile Racing Strategy, at: http://world.honda.com/news/2014/c140207Motorsports-Overview/?r=m

[1] FIM: Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme
[2] Factory team: A team managed directly by the manufacturer that creates the racing machine
[3] Satellite team: A team that competes in a race by using a factory machine created by the manufacturer that manages the factory team and managed their team by their own
[4] FIA: Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
[5] The GP2 Series is a category positioned as a gateway to the F1. GP2 Series races are held internationally, mostly in Europe, as support races for F1. Past GP2 Series champions have moved on to further success at F1.

About Honda

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (TSE:7267/NYSE:HMC) is one of the leading manufacturers of automobiles and power products and the largest manufacture of motorcycles in the world. Honda has always sought to provide genuine satisfaction to people worldwide. The result is more than 120 manufacturing facilities in 30 countries worldwide, producing a wide range of products, including motorcycles, ATVs, generators, marine engines, lawn and garden equipment and automobiles that bring the company into contact with over 19 million customers annually. For more information, please visit http://world.honda.com.

Source: Honda

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