Into a new age in GP



Perhaps the best way to get people intrested in GP racing is to give them a better understanding of what has happened in the last few years of the sport. New Regulations have given 4-stroke engines a clear advanage, with the main reason being on the development.

The guidelines of new regulations for 500cc four-stroke machine was worked out in 2000. According to the FIM press release distributed in April 2000, major standards are as follows...

1) Maximum displacement(four stroke): 990cc (351cc - 500cc for two strokers).
2) Minimum weight: 135 kg for single- to three-cylinders, 145 kg for four- to five-cylinders, and 155 kg for above (101 kg for single- to two-cylinders, 116 kg for three-cylinders, 131 for four-cylinders two strokers).

Moreover, fuel tank capacity was set to be under 24 liters for 2002 - 2003 seasons and under 22 liters from 2004 season and on (currently not regulated). The noise limitation was also reinforced to 115dB/A before start and 120dB/A after goal (currently 110dB/A before start and 113dB/A after goal).

Naturally, this regulation change has set fire on Honda's development.
After the announcement of the new regulation guideline in April 2000, Honda started developing its four-stroke machine for the MotoGP in full- scale. What we tackled first was to determine the basic configuration of the engine. We sought for a configuration that best suits Honda's four- stroke grand prix engine, the first 500cc four-stroke engine ever developed in 20 years since our last four-stroker NR500.

The new regulation allows ample degree of freedom in regard to number of cylinders. Finding the best engine configuration from extensive options was tough but challenging. It was as if we were starting everything from a scratch.

More to come on the Honda RC211V....
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