Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) in Japan and Honda Performance Development (HPD) in North America announce they will create “one global HRC entity” with newly formed HRC US beginning in 2024 and aiming to strengthen Honda’s global motorsports competitiveness across F1, MotoGP, WSBK, Motocross and Rally.

To those involved in motorcycle sport, particularly off-road sport, the announcement that Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) and Honda Performance Development (HPD) will formally become one will come as little surprise.

Creating HRC US means the American arm will play more of an integral role in Honda’s global motorsports activities, which includes contributing to the company’s Formula One (F1) programme plus Rally and Motocross which already has very strong connections.

Combined expertise

Collaborating as one global HRC entity, the two independent racing arms of Honda will combine their unique expertise and resources to strengthen Honda’s overall motorsports capabilities.

HRC was established in Japan in 1982 as Honda’s motorcycle racing arm, and is recognised for more than 40 years of championship racing heritage in pinnacle global racing categories such as WGP/MotoGP, Superbike, Motocross, World Trial and the Rally-Raid.  In 2022, HRC added auto racing including Honda’s F1 programme to its responsibilities, with the Sakura Center dedicated for auto racing and Asaka Center focused on motorcycle racing.

What this means for the two-wheeled racing programme, including motocross and rally where they recently annouced US-rider Skyler Howes had signed for the Monster Energy Honda Rally Team, is not clear at time of writing. 

Focus on four-wheels

HPD was established by American Honda Motor Co., Inc. in 1993, as a separate racing arm to compete in the IndyCar series. For 30 years, HPD has competed in various racing series including IndyCar, IMSA, Baja Off-Road, Touring Cars, and Formula Regional America. Through HPD, Honda has 280 wins from 510 races in IndyCar competition, including 180 wins from 410 events with multi-manufacturer competitions. At the Indianapolis 500, Honda has won 15 times, nine with multi-manufacturer competition. Honda has won 13 Drivers’ Championships and 10 Manufacturers’ Championships in years with multi-manufacturer competition. HPD also has led the Acura brand to three consecutive wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and three IMSA Manufacturers’, Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships since 2018.

Formula 1

HRC’s auto racing development centre in Japan currently supports Red Bull Powertrains for F1 power units and contribute to world championship victories. Starting in 2026, HRC will partner with the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 team as the official engine supplier. With three F1 races now in the U.S. (Austin, Miami, Las Vegas), the new HRC US will be involved in Formula One power unit development and race support starting in 2026.

“Our goal is to increase the HRC brand and sustain the success of our racing activities and we believe that uniting Honda motorsports globally as one racing organization will help achieve that,” said Koji Watanabe, the president of HRC Japan. “Our race engineers in the U.S. and Japan will be stronger together and I am so happy to welcome our U.S. associates to the HRC team.”

“Honda’s racing heritage is unparalleled and over the last 30 years and the talented men and women of HPD have contributed to that success in the U.S.," said David Salters, president of HPD, who will become president of the new HRC US. “We are thrilled and very proud to join forces with our friends and colleagues in HRC Japan and represent Honda Racing as a global racing organization. We will continue to challenge ourselves in U.S. motorsports activities even as we develop our people and technology to compete on a rapidly changing global motorsports stage.”

The 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona, scheduled for January 27-28, will mark the inaugural race for the new HRC US, with the defending champion Acura ARX-06 prototypes to sport HRC logos on their racing liveries.