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Honda RA106 Specifications

Honda RA106 Specifications

View of Honda RA106

Honda RA106 Specifications. Honda has coped with the change from a V10 to a V8 engine by starting from the ground up with an entirely new design. The development team started the new concept right after the new rules were introduced more than a year ago, and the first track test of the V8 was conducted last April at Mugello, to confirm the various characteristics of the V8 and its interaction with the chassis. Intensive dyno work on further prototypes followed, first in Japan and, since October, in the UK. The team also ran the engine in its Concept car on three tests before the end of 2005.

During development, Honda has been able to draw on its experience in developing engines for racing in North America. The 10,300 rev limit on the engine on IRL means that it works on 1990s CART engines (which don’t have such a limit) which provides a more useful pointer. In particular, at certain rev ranges, the resonant frequency can cause problems with vibration in the V8, and Honda’s CART experience helps it overcome this particular hurdle.

As well as a major change from 10 to 8 cylinders, the development team also had to adapt to new regulations such as minimum weight and crank height, plus bans on certain materials and variable intake trumpets. These last steps will make the optimal torque range narrower, so designers put a lot of work into improving the torque characteristics in the engine rev range right after upshifting. In general, drivability is expected to be more of a challenge, which will benefit the rider with a more refined style.

As well as the challenges of designing the engine itself, of course Honda’s engineers also had to look at how the new unit would affect the overall package. Designers in Japan and Brackley have worked closely together to minimize the negative impact of any higher V8 vibration on areas such as hydraulics and gearbox systems. All of these systems have run reliably in the Concept cars in testing so far, which is a testament to the good teamwork built over the years.

Overall, the challenge is working within the new regulations to produce engines of the same reliability as the V10s, rotating to at least the same level. The team is targeting to achieve that for the first race, which will provide a good platform for the rest of the season.

Honda RA106 Specifications
Honda RA106 Specifications

Honda RA106 Review

The era of cigarette sponsorship delivers some of the best and most recognizable liveries of all time. One of the longest running sponsors, and one of the most memorable, is the British American Tobacco Lucky Strike brand, to the BAR and Honda teams.

Having the same sponsor year after year carries the threat of having a static livery, which even after just a few seasons will become very tiresome. Although the livery may have been beautiful in its first season, every year where it is kept the same after that creates boredom in looking at the car and sours the sight of its original beauty (see Panasonic Toyota 2002 vs 2007, Vodafone McLaren 2007 vs 2013. Initially great liveries, but 5 years in same livery? Haven’t you made a new addition to your wardrobe in the last 5 years? SOMETHING had to change). This has happened on a number of occasions in Formula 1, but fortunately, BAR/Honda has not been sucked into this trap.

BAR/Honda managed to not only update, but upgrade the livery throughout the year, keeping up with the times and producing a car that always looks good. From one year to the next, new elements are added to the livery, which not only makes it more attractive, but improves the overall design, and ensures it doesn’t look “so last season”. Due to the continuous improvements made to the livery design, the obvious choice for this review is the last link in the chain, the 2006 Lucky Strike Honda RA106.

After an impressive 2004, 2005 was a step back for BAR Honda. Poor performances early on and controversy surrounded their illegal fuel system, which led to the exclusion of two races. While Jenson Button improved by the end of the season, Takuma Sato managed to score just one point all season. For 2006, the team changed hands and would only become Honda, and after leaving Ferrari, Rubens Barrichello was brought in to replace Sato. Enough about that, let’s talk livery.

The 2006 livery is definitely a Lucky Strike livery. The full lucky strike logo is shown on very few occasions. Despite the ban on tobacco advertising in most countries, clever non-tobacco liveries have managed to get a sponsored message. Honda uses either blank Lucky Strike targets, or a stylized version of the modern logo. Both work well, although the stylized version is more interesting and seems to fit the car’s shape better. The biggest change is in color.

For years, BAR has used plain white as their main color. For 2006, instead of white, Honda opted for an off white or Championship White ivory color (apparently an homage to the Honda Grand Prix cars of the 1960s). It’s subtle, and not completely clear in all videos or pictures, but when you can see the difference, it looks amazing. In fact, I didn’t really notice the change until the dark and gloomy Hungarian Grand Prix. This isn’t the first use of a color like this (similar versions were used by Arrows, Williams and Jordan, thanks to Barclay), but the first time in years. This is a color that is rarely used, but which when used properly, with the right secondary colors, can be absolutely beautiful. It’s really here and I’ve been hoping we’ll see cream, ivory or in fact, Championship White used again in F1 in the near future.

The livery design is an evolution of several years of work. Red, black and olive scream Lucky Strike. These colors, now set against a Championship White background, are absolutely free. The combination is very easy on the eyes. The design on the engine cover and nose side is basically a cross section of the Lucky Strike target, cleverly placed to best fit the shape of the car. All of the logos on the car fit seamlessly into the livery, giving it another big check mark in the aesthetics department, perhaps with the exception of the Eneos and the 555 on the nose.

Livery changed little between most of the races, but a few race weekends saw some drastic changes. The first came in Turkey, where Petrol Ofisi was honored with its own special livery. It replaces the black and olive sections with a plain red and despite losing some complexity, manages to look really good. However, this is only a promotion and is not waved.

The second and largest Honda 7 Chinachange was in China, where British American Tobacco used the opportunity to advertise to the Chinese market, replacing the Lucky Strike with its local equivalent in 555. The design is more or less the same, but with colors changing to blue and yellow instead black, red and plain olive. This livery doesn’t look like it has much thought put into it. It lacks charm and doesn’t quite work as a whole, but the Honda 8 Brazilis is cool to look back on and remember.

The final variation is used in Brazil. As this was the last race before the tobacco sponsorship ban in Formula 1, Lucky Strike ran a tribute livery for sponsoring BAR/Honda for the past 8 seasons. They used the slogans “Racing Forever” and “Last Blast” on the livery as a tribute to the end of the era.

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Specifications of Honda RA106


  • Configuration : RA806E 90º V8
  • Location: Mid, installed longitudinally
  • Block: a combination of construction lights and heads
  • Displacement : 2,400 cc / 146.5 cu in
  • Valvetrain : 4 valves / cylinder, DOHC
  • Fuel : Feed Fuel Injection
  • Aspirations: Experience Aspirations
  • Power : 700 bhp / 522 kW @ 19,000 rpm
  • BHP/liter : 292 bhp/liter


  • Chassis: carbon fiber monocoque
  • Suspension: (fr/r) double wishbone, push-rod rocker actuation and damper, anti-roll bar
  • Steering: rack-and-pinion, power assisted
  • Brakes: ventilated carbon ceramic disc, versatile
  • Gearbox : 7 speed Semi-auto
  • Drive : Rear Wheel Drive


  • Weight : 605 kilos / 1,334 lbs
  • Length / Width / Height : 4,675 mm (184.1 in) / 1,800 mm (70.9 in) / 950 mm (37.4 in)
  • Wheelbase / Tracks (fr/r): 3,140 mm (123.6 in) / 1,460 mm (57.5 in) / 1,420 mm (55.9 in)

Performance figures

  • Power to weight : 1.16 bhp/kg

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