The Honda RA302 was built by Honda Racing and entered in the 1968 French Grand Prix by Honda France, on the orders of Soichiro Honda, who wanted to develop an air-cooled 3 liter Formula One engine. Honda wished to prove that they could build a Formula One car from the ground up, as it was well known that the team's existing RA301 chassis was built by Lola.
1968 French Grand PrixEdit
The arrival of one of the two RA302 cars at the circuit was a surprise to most. John Surtees was vocal about the car not being ready to race, and unsafe in it's present form, but Honda France was starting a major sales campaign, and racing a 100% Honda car was seen as good publicity. A popular French F2 driver, Jo Schlesser, was given the drive. Schlesser had driven in the German Grand Prix twice in F2 cars, but this was his first ride in an actual Formula One car. At 40, Schlesser would be retiring soon, and this drive was a reward for long and faithful service.
Practice showed that the car still needed a great deal of work, with Schlesser 17th fastest of 18 drivers, more than eight seconds behind polesitter Jochen Rindt. Observers felt that the car had plenty of power, but was easily the slowest in the corners, with Schlesser seen exerting much effort to try to make the car handle. Raceday started with a light drizzle before the start, with most cars on intermediate tires. Just after the start the drizzle became a serious downpour, with conditions becoming treacherous.
Complete Formula One ResultsEdit
|Entreat||Drivers||Tires||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12||WCC Points||WCC Pos.|
|Honda Racing||Jo Schlesser†||Ret†||14||6th|