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~Hirotoshi Honda~

Discussion in 'General Car Discussions' started by CLUTCHONE, May 14, 2006.

  1. CLUTCHONE
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    CLUTCHONE Active Member

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    Hirotoshi Honda, founder of Mugen Motorsports is the son of Soichiro Honda, the man who founded the Honda Motor Company. Born in April 1942, he was six when his father set up Honda and when Hirotoshi was in his teens, the empire boomed. By the time Hirotoshi graduated from Nihon University in 1965, the Honda name was famous across the world for its motorcycles - and was beginning to build cars.


    Mugen Motorsports
    After graduating, Hirotoshi tried his hand at building his own racing cars in workshops behind the family home but it was not until 1972, when Honda began to market the Civic, that Hirotoshi decided on his long-term future. Seeing big opportunities in automobile design, he established Mugen with Masao Kimura, an engineer with experience at Honda R&D and in the Honda Racing team.

    Mugen Motorsports (M-TEC Co., Ltd) is a Japanese company formed in 1973 by Hirotoshi Honda, the son of Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda, and Masao Kimura. Mugen, meaning "Without Limit", is an engine tuner and parts manufacturer closely associated with the Honda Motor Company. Despite the family connections, however, Mugen is not, and has never been, owned by Honda. Things were complicated for some time when Mugen was owned and ran by Hirotoshi Honda who has been the major shareholder in Honda since his father's death in 1991.

    The company tunes and races Honda vehicles in the Super GT championship, and, additionally, sells aftermarket parts to amateur enthusiasts. It was part of partnerships that won the Formula 3000 championship in 1990 and 1991, and that eventually lead to Mugen's involvement in Formula 1, from 1992 to 1999, and up to 2005 was the exclusive supplier of Formula Nippon engines.



    In 1992 the company had built the prototype Honda NSX and has long-term ambitions to build its own road cars. The plan was to develop technology to be used on Honda road cars and develop racing engines for sale. The first Mugen engines were based on the Civic's 1200cc unit, but as the Honda range of cars grew, so did Mugen. By 1984 Mugen had begun to market body kits as well as engines.
     
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  2. CLUTCHONE
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    CLUTCHONE Active Member

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    Corporate history

    The company has a strong racing heritage as Hirotoshi Honda began building his own racing car, in a workshop at his father's house, shortly before he graduated from Nihon University in 1965. Masao Kimura is a veteran with more than 50 race victories in Honda sports cars and single-seaters and worked for Honda R&D and then Honda Racing Service before he helped H. Honda establish Mugen.

    The company specializes in tuning Honda engines, beginning with the 1200 cc Honda Civic engine, but has since developed and can now design and build both two-stroke and four-stroke engines and manufacture many of the major components.

    Mugen ultimately intends to build its own road cars and the first step towards this was the creation of bodykits for the Honda Ballade CRX in 1984. Since then, the company has produced a number of body kits for Honda machinery, culminating in 1992 in the Mugen NSX prototype.

    Mugen was restructured in late 2003 following Hirotoshi Honda's tax evasion scandal, and a new company called M-TEC was established shortly in early 2004. M-TEC retained the right to use the Mugen trademark and is based in the current headquarters in Asaka, in the northern suburbs of Tokyo and close to the Honda R&D facility at Wako, and will retain the company's existing staff but will be legally unconnected with the old firm. The newly restructured company is now headed by Mugen board member Shin Nagaosa. Nagaosa was the manager of the engineering division of the company and in recent years has been largely involved with running Mugen's NSX racing program.


    Mugen Racing

    Single-seaters
    Working with Honda, Mugen has gradually expanded its sporting involvement to all levels of the sport. In 1986, Formula 3000 was introduced into Japan and Mugen joined forces with Honda to build an F3000 engine. It was introduced in the 1987 season and leased to 14 teams. The following year, Mugen won four of the top five places in the Japanese F3000 championship. In 1989, Mugen entered European F3000 with the MF308 engine and won the championship with Jean Alesi, driving an Eddie Jordan Racing Reynard. The same year the company produced its own prototype 3.5 V8 Formula 1 engine, codenames MF350.

    In 1988, Mugen started tuning Honda engines for use in Formula 3, winning the Japanese series with Akihiko Nakaya, and in 1990 expanded their business to Europe. The same year, Mugen won its first Formula 3 championships in Europe, taking the French title with Eric Hélary, and the British crown with Mika Häkkinen at the wheel of a West Surrey Racing Reynard, who repeated the title in 1991 with Rubens Barrichello.

    As F3000 became a spec-series in Europe starting in 1996 with the Lola-Judd combo, the Japanese series responded by making Mugen the sole supplier to the Japanese championship, now redubbed Formula Nippon. M-TEC lost the supply contract for the 2006 season, with the rules changing to allow Toyota associate Tom's to join Mugen as engine supplier. Mugen continues to enjoy success in the Formula 3 circuit with its tuned 2.0 L Honda engines, having won 9 titles in Asia (8 of which in Japan) since 1988, as well as 19 titles in Europe (15 of them in Britain), and 13 in Latin America.


    Formula One
    In 1991 Mugen prepared Honda V10 engines for Tyrrell but the following year these engines were renamed the Mugen MF351H and were transferred to the Footwork team, with drivers Aguri Suzuki and Michele Alboreto. In 1993, Mugen remained affiliated with Footwork and created a B version of the MF351H, used by Aguri Suzuki and Derek Warwick.

    At the end of the year, Mugen switched to Team Lotus with plans for a new Lotus 109. The team - with drivers Johnny Herbert and Pedro Lamy (later replaced by Alessandro Zanardi) - was underfunded and the 109 chassis was late arriving. The Mugen engine, codenamed ZA5C, was not able to show its full potential and, after Lotus closed at the end of the year, Mugen switched to the Ligier team, which was then being run for Flavio Briatore by Tom Walkinshaw with drivers Olivier Panis, Martin Brundle and Aguri Suzuki. The 3.0 L engine, conforming to the new regulations, was codenamed MF301H. The connection with Ligier resulted in Mugen's first Formula 1 victory at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix with Panis at the wheel.

    The team was taken over by Alain Prost in 1997 and the newly-named Prost Grand Prix ran MF301H-B engines with Jarno Trulli leading the Austrian Grand Prix before suffering engine failure. With Prost establishing a relationship with Peugeot in 1998, Mugen looked for a new partner and reached a two-year agreement with Jordan Grand Prix for which Mugen produced the MF201H-C engine. The 1998 season was not a success until Spa-Francorchamps, when Jordan drivers Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher scored a 1-2 finish.

    The 1999 season resulted in further success with Heinz-Harald Frentzen winning twice, but then the Honda Motor Company announced that it would be returning with its own engines in 2000 with British American Racing. Mugen pulled out of F1 leaving Honda to supply the engines to Jordan as well.



    The M-TEC team is similar to the Nismo teams as they are both closely aligned with a manufacturer, although M-TEC doesn't quite enjoy the same level of direct factory support Nismo gets for its Super GT effort. With such close relations and support from Honda, M-TEC can develop its in-house manufactured NSX chassis and engine far better than smaller private teams such as Leyjun or Gaikokuya. When they're not racing, the M-TEC team is refining either the chassis or the engine on the computer, a test track or on an engine dyno. For the JGTC effort, M-TEC generally fields five workers on the chassis design team, two race drivers, 10 maintenance and pit service crew members, and 20 engine development workers. These workers continually refine the NSX. The M-TEC effort is very tight-knit, crafted almost like a mini-corporation. Each team member is a link, and all members do the best they can in their position. There are no weak links found in the chain, only utter loyalty. It is unheard of for a pit mechanic to transfer from the M-TEC team over to the Tom's team; once you're in, you're set.

    The only downside of the close manufacturer support is the incredible amount of pressure to deliver results. Toyota, Nissan and Honda want the GT500 crown at any cost. Top teams have a $1 million budget, so a "must win" mentality falls over the JGTC ranks. Engine and chassis modifications are carried out to the absolute limit of the rulebook. Some teams have turned to non-Japanese drivers who are capable of extracting the fastest lap times out of the GT cars. Ties to Honda mean M-TEC is currently locked to the NSX chassis, so the team only had to decide whether it would shoot for the championship or develop a racing driver. Recent rulebook changes limited the NSX's performance capability, meaning the 2000 GT500-champion Mugen NSX wasn't capable of winning this year. M-TEC faced a difficult decision to stay in GT500. The team could either twin-turbocharge the engine and find a new European driver or keep the same program and fall to the back of the pack. For M-TEC, neither choice was acceptable.

    M-TEC decided to drop down to GT300 and help train Japanese drivers for GT500 speeds. By grabbing promising drivers early in their careers, M-TEC would then be able to mold them and have definite access to future champions. M-TEC driver, Hiroyuki Yagi, was sourced from the Integra Series. Giving the drivers experience was more important than developing the car to take the championship. To this end, M-TEC simply detuned the car for the GT300 class without optimizing it for the new power level. Winning the GT300 series by one point over the ARTA Garaiya was simply an unintended bonus for a dedicated, championship-level team.

    Breaking into the United States is another goal for the M-TEC team and the Mugen name. Currently, the authorized dealer of Mugen parts in the US is King Motorsports. Team director Junichi Kumakura thought racing the NSX in the United States was a great way to promote the company in a previously unvisited environment. When asked what else M-TEC would like to accomplish in America with the golden NSX, competing at Sebring and Daytona were marked as attractive goals.
     
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  3. CLUTCHONE
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    CLUTCHONE Active Member

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    Tax Evasion Case

    Tax Evasion Case
    On July 1, 2003, Japanese prosecutors arrested Hirotoshi Honda over a massive tax evasion case.

    The arrest came hours after prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into Mugen, which has business relations with Honda Motor Company, on suspicion of dodging 600 million yen (five million dollars) in corporate taxes.

    Norio Hirokawa, 60, the company's auditor, was also arrested over his alleged involvement in the tax evasion.

    Prosecutors suspect Mugen hid its income by moving funds to a company named MG Estate under machine lease and other fictitious transactions for three years through to December 2000, Kyodo News Agency said.

    Hirotoshi Honda is a board member of MG Estate, which has since been renamed GE Seirijigyosha.

    Mugen reported sales of about 6.8 billion yen for the financial year to October 2001.

    Honda Motor has pulled its capital from Mugen but still teams with the firm to participate in auto races.
     
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  4. cabezzzdb8

    cabezzzdb8 New Member

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    Cliff notes PLEASE!!!!!!!!
     
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  5. Specter

    Specter New Member

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    hahahaha... tax evasion
     
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  6. Daniel
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    Daniel Active Member

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    Son of Honda establishes Mugen
    Mugen tunes race cars
    Mugen manufactures good parts
    Son evades taxes, gets arrested.
    Mugen now M-Tec
     
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  7. CLUTCHONE
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    CLUTCHONE Active Member

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    and the Moral...

    And the Moral to this story is that Mugen reported sales of about 6.8 billion yen for the financial year to October 2001.


    That was 5 years ago... Imagine How much the Reported sales are now that the whole JDM Craze is World Wide... :eek:hsnap:
     
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  8. Specter

    Specter New Member

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    THANK YOU

    [for the cliff notes]
     
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  9. JDM lover

    JDM lover Member

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    Bump...
     
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  10. EJ1Rider

    EJ1Rider New Member

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    holy crap....didnt kno that any of that about mugen, cause iv been to obsessed with spoon

    good stuff ^_^
     
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  11. Nachtmensch

    Nachtmensch New Member

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    there are rumors of Mugen bringing over Mugen prepped Hondas and selling them through Honda similar to the Mazdaspeed series of Mazdas (mx5, protege, 3, 6)

    i believe they were going to start with the civic in the states :)
     
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  12. SiRalex16v

    SiRalex16v New Member

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    pretty cool stuff
     
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  13. pimpinpunk

    pimpinpunk New Member

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    You got to luv some god`ol JDM related history. lol.
     
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  14. Deibidosan

    Deibidosan Active Member

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    i think they would do it the same way they do it over here. like a dealer option thing. :rocks:
    but then mugen will loose its rare-ity. it will just be factory options. good or bad, i dunno. :)
     
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  15. CLUTCHONE
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    CLUTCHONE Active Member

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    2008 Honda Civic Mugen Si Sedan

    Please Click the Pic Below for The Video
    [​IMG]

    Honda also mentioned that the Mugen Si will go on sale next spring at a price "less than $30,000," as if that made it some kind of bargain. With only 500 offered per year it won't be hard for Honda to call it a Sellout...:woot:
     
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