Honda Develops New Entry-Level Formula Car, the Honda Side-by-Side

September 19, 1997, Japan

News Release

Tokyo, September 19, 1997 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. introduced today a new motorsport vehicle, the "Side-by-Side." It combines the advantages of two- and four-wheel vehicles to create a new kind of motorsport category.
The Side-by-Side was developed both as a tool to improve driver skills and serve as a new entry category for Japanese motorsport activities. Built for exclusive use on closed circuits, this single seater formula car is powered by a narrow V-twin motorcycle engine located on the driver's right hand side.

Honda Side-by-Side

Honda Side-by-Side

This new type of motorsports vehicle offers the responsiveness of a formula car in a unique design package. The name "Side-by-Side" comes from the location of the power unit which is neither front nor rear, but rather on the side next to the driver's seat. Thanks to a very low polar moment inertia and near perfect weight balance, the Side-by-Side boasts outstanding slide-controllability. Its easy to handle power and size, combined with high tire performance, open the door of formula car driving to the general public. Safety has naturally been the object of much attention with the Side-by-Side providing safety standards similar to that of FJ1600, the next formula category up.

This new Side-by-Side formula car will be made available for circuit practice and driving school purposes starting this October in Twin Ring Motegi.

Side-by-Side Technical Overview

  • Handling stability
    By locating the engine on the driver's right hand side, all inertial masses are concentrated near the center of gravity. A very low polar moment of 32.1 kgms2 is thus achieved, with the neutral steer line1 almost over-lapping with the center of gravity for superior turn in performance. Slide control is thus much easier thanks to a reduced tendency to sudden change from under-steering to oversteering behavior. From short to international circuits, this Side-by-Side promises much driving fun.
    1 The neutral steer line is the line over which cornering forces do not translate into either understeer or oversteer.
  • Engine
    The Side-by-Side is powered by the narrow V-twin engine used in the XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle. This compact, lightweight engine was chosen for its narrow dimensions, allowing it to be located on the driver's right hand side.
  • Drivetrain
    The 5-speed sequential transmission is another carry-over component from the XRV750 Africa Twin. Power is delivered to the rear wheels via chain drive with a simple change of the driven sprocket allowing the tailoring of gear ratios to circuit characteristics.
  • Safety
    The Side-by-Side was developed to provide the same driver protection as in the FJ1600 category thus allowing anyone to enjoy safe circuit driving. In case of an accident, the car is designed to allow for prompt driver extraction and rescue.
  • Layout
  • Specifications
Dimensions: overall length 3,340 mm
overall width 1,550 mm
overall height 1,045 mm
wheelbase 2,000 mm
front/rear tread 1,325/1,375 mm
Weight 390 kgs
Construction: tubular spaceframe
Engine: type narrow-angle SOHC V-twin
capacity 742 cc
maximum power 57 PS/7,500 rpm
maximum torque   
6.1 kgm/6,000 rpm
Tire: 175/60R14
Transmission: 5-speed sequential type