Honda RA272

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Honda RA272
2006 SAG - F1 Honda RA272 1965 -01.JPG
CategoryFormula One
Designer(s)Yoshio Nakamura
Shoichi Sano
Technical specifications
ChassisAluminium monocoque
Suspension (front)Double wishbone
Suspension (rear)Double wishbone
Length3,950 mm
Width1,675 mm
Height793 mm
Wheelbase2,300 mm
EngineHonda RA272E 1.5 L (92 cu in) V12 (60°) Naturally aspirated, Mid-engined, transversely mounted
TransmissionHonda 6 forward speeds + 1 reverse
Weight498 kg
Competition history
Notable driversUnited States Ronnie Bucknum
United States Richie Ginther
Debut1965 Monaco Grand Prix

The Honda RA272 was a Formula One racing car designed by Yoshio Nakamura and Shoichi Sano for the 1965 Formula One season. It was the first Japanese car to win in Formula One.


A successor to the Honda RA271, the RA272 was noticeable mainly for its technically advanced (though rather wide and heavy) 48-valve 1,495.28 cc V12 engine (58.1 x 47.0 mm), a water-cooled, transversely mounted unit which reportedly gave 230 bhp (170 kW) at 13,000 rpm.[1] The engine was safe to 14,000 rpm, which was unusually high for a 1960s engine design.

Racing history[edit]

For their second season in 1965, Honda signed Richie Ginther – who had scored multiple podium finishes and had a reputation for being a great test and development driver – to drive alongside Ronnie Bucknum.

The car made its debut at the second round of the season in Monaco. The race ended in a double retirement as the cars suffered gearbox and transmission issues. Ginther qualified fourth at the next race in Belgium, and finished the race in sixth to give Honda their first points finish in Formula One.

The next race in France ended with ignition problems for both drivers, after a best qualifying position of seventh by Ginther. At the following British Grand Prix, Ginther qualified an impressive third, just 0.5 seconds off pole position, but the race again ended up in a retirement, this time caused by injection issues.

Ginther leading the Dutch Grand Prix

Ginther once again qualified third at the Dutch Grand Prix. He shot into the lead for the first two laps, but eventually finished sixth to score more points.

The team didn't participate in the German Grand Prix, but returned for the next race in Italy. In Italy, Bucknum qualified sixth – ahead of Ginther – after not participating in the last three races, but both cars retired from the race with ignition problems. Ginther qualified third in the United States Grand Prix, but finished seventh.

The following Mexican Grand Prix was going to be the final race of the season and also the final of the 1,500cc era. Ginther again qualified third and after he took the lead on the first lap, led every lap to win the Grand Prix.[2] Bucknum finished fifth to make it a double points finish. It was a historic moment, as it was the first Grand Prix victory for a Japanese team, car and engine. It was also Goodyear's first Formula One win.

The Honda RA272E V12 had staggering acceleration and often led the race into the opening lap after leaving the stationary starting grid. Despite not participating in every race, Honda finished their second season in Formula One sixth in the constructors' championship.[3]


Honda's Type R cars traditionally have a Championship White paint option and a red Honda badge as a tribute to the RA272.

The RA272 appeared in the Formula One Championship Edition video game as an unlockable bonus car.[4] It also serves as the design influence for the B Dasher kart in the Mario Kart series.


Formula One World Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Engine Drivers Tyres 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts. WCC
1965 Honda R & D Company Honda RA272E 1.5L V12 G RSA MON BEL FRA GBR NED GER ITA USA MEX 11 6th
Richie Ginther Ret 6 Ret Ret 6 Ret 7 1
Ronnie Bucknum Ret Ret Ret Ret 13 5


  1. ^ Franchitti, Dario (April 2012). "1965 RA 272". Road & Track. 63 (8): 76–79. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ "Standings". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  3. ^ "Standings". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  4. ^ " Vehicles/Cars list for Formula One Championship Edition". Retrieved 2019-06-27.

External links[edit]