COUNTDOWN TO GOODWOOD – HONDA WINNERS PAST AND PRESENT READY TO TAKE ON LEGENDARY HILLCLIMB
- Honda winners on two and four wheels to tackle Hillclimb on-board iconic machines including Honda’s first GP winner and the most successful 500cc racing bike of all time
- Special guest Bruno Senna to get behind the wheel of the highly acclaimed McLaren MP4/4
- UK debut of Civic Type R and NSX Concept models ahead of launch in 2015
With four days to go until the 21st Goodwood Festival of Speed, a group of Honda winners past and present are looking forward to taking on the famous Hillclimb on-board some very special machines.
First out of the paddock on Friday morning will be touring car stalwart Gabriele Tarquini behind the wheel of the RA272; the iconic car in which Richie Ginther scooped Honda’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix victory in Mexico in 1965. With 19 WTCC wins under his belt, Gabriele is currently driving for the 2013 Championship-winning Castrol Honda WTCC team.
Continuing on four wheels, Saturday afternoon will see a special appearance from Bruno Senna in the car that powered his uncle to a championship-winning eight GP victories in the 1988 season. The McLaren Honda MP4/4 is one of the most successful F1 cars ever built; winning 15 of the 16 Grand Prix in 1988.
Honda is also looking forward to welcoming to Goodwood two icons of motorcycle racing, Freddie Spencer and Stuart Graham. Starting out in dirt track racing at the age of just four, ‘Fast Freddie’ became the youngest premium class winner in 1982 at just 20 years old; now an honour of Honda’s latest young-gun, Marc Marquez. He went on to take three world championships in the eighties, including both the 250cc and 500cc titles in one season, all on a Honda. Freddie will take on the Goodwood Hillclimb on the NSR500, the machine which powered him to victory in the 1985 Championship. Widely regarded as the most successful bike in 500cc GP history, the NSR500 has 10 Championships and more than 100 GP wins to its credit.
Stuart Graham, son of 1949 500cc World Champion Leslie Graham, won the Isle of Man TT in 1967, the same year in which he took two Grand Prix victories in just his second year of competition. Somewhat uniquely Stuart went on to successfully switch from two wheels to four, winning the RAC Tourist Trophy in a Chevrolet Camaro in both 1974 and 1975. Stuart’s trusty steed for the weekend is the RC164, the four-cylinder 250cc racer upon which Jim Redman won the 1963 World Championship.
A Honda legend requiring very little introduction is 21 times Isle of Man TT winner, John McGuinness. Most recently John was part of the Honda TT Legends Endurance World Championship Team but now concentrates on road-racing disciplines with Honda Racing.
Alongside John – running the Honda Racing CBR1000RR – will be the current Pata Honda World Superbike pairing of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea, taking the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade up the hill.
Son of the legendary Ron Haslam, Leon started out in schoolboy motocross at the age of nine, and by his teens had competed in both British and International championships. Similarly Jonathan won his first motocross title in 1997 at just ten years old, going on to become the youngest ever rider to secure a British Superbike (BSB) pole, in 2005. Jonathan has a ten year career in road racing under his belt, the last five in World Superbike (SBK) with Honda.
Completing Honda’s winning line-up in the paddock at Goodwood will be Japanese racer, Takuya Izawa. Experienced across F3, Super GP and Super Formula, Takuya is currently driving in GP2 for France-based ART Grand Prix. Takuya’s fast progression through the ranks is in no small part thanks to the support of the Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP), a joint initiative between Honda and McLaren Racing aiming to nurture highly talented young racers. Takuya will negotiate the Hillclimb in the McLaren Honda MP4/4.
If that’s not enough to inspire and excite festival-goers, the four day celebration of the finest in motorsport will also see plenty of other Honda action away from the track. The Civic Type R and NSX Concept models will make their UK debut as they take centre stage on the Honda stand, ahead of the launch of the production models in 2015. As well as getting up close with the new concepts, visitors will get the chance to race them – with the stand turned into a miniature race track for budding drivers to compete with special-edition remote control models. A live leader board and race footage will run on the big screen on the stand throughout the Festival, with races also uploaded to a YouTube playlist allowing players to savour and share their moment of glory.
Finally, continuing the theme of getting festival-goers involved, Honda will once again host an off-road experience offering the chance to take to two wheels on a selection of the company’s latest off-road motorcycles. A specially created course just next to the famed Hillclimb will offer the opportunity to learn the basics of riding on dirt in 20 minute taster sessions, under the guidance of experienced instructors.