Honda fetes Suzuka Circuit’s 50th anniversary

JIJI

Honda Motor Co. has celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Suzuka Circuit, which opened in 1962 in Mie Prefecture as Japan’s first full-fledged international motor racing course.

The circuit, feted Sunday, was built by Honda founder Soichiro Honda, who hoped to provide a place where automobiles can compete to enhance performance and safety.

Since 1987, the circuit has hosted the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix 23 times. In 1990, Aguri Suzuki became the first Japanese driver to make it to the podium.

The circuit is also known as the annual venue for an eight-hour motorcycle endurance race.

“Honda will strengthen motor sport activity sometime as it boosts customer trust,” Honda President Takanobu Ito said at a ceremony, suggesting the carmaker may return to F1 competition.

A series of anniversary events, including a parade of antique cars and motorcycles, attracted 60,000 people to the famed track on Saturday and Sunday.