The Racing Heritage of Castrol and Honda
Castrol has been synonymous with ultimate performance since the early days of motorsports history, but the link between Castrol and Honda has been unshakeable since the Japanese manufacturer first took part in the TT races on the Isle of Man in 1959.
Only two seasons later Tom Phillis won the 125c Grand Prix at Montjuich Park and went on to win the World Championship itself that same year, the first of many joint successes for Honda and Castrol.
In World Superbike, Castrol branding was prominent on top Honda entries from the very beginning. In 1988, Fred Merkel won the first two WSBK championships on his Rumi Honda RC30 with Castrol an integral part of the overall push to victory.
With the status of this form of global racing growing fast, a step-up to factory status for Honda was almost inevitable and in 1994 Castrol joined forces with the new official HRC WSBK team to create an instant force in this relatively young championship. Aaron Slight gave the Castrol Honda team its first WSBK win, at Albacete in 1995. Two years later John Kocinski took his red, white and green Castrol Honda RC45 to the championship win itself.
Honda’s signing of Colin Edwards in 1998 was another phase in the development of Castrol Honda’s overall WSBK push, and with the arrival of the twin-cylinder VTR1000SP in 2000, both Honda and Castrol moved into new technical territory. The overall combination was irresistible, with Edwards winning the championship first time out on the big twin, following that up with a second title in 2002.
The advent of a four-stroke MotoGP championship caused many changes in World Superbike and the previous Castrol Honda factory squad was reassigned, but of course the link between Castrol and Honda continued in a multitude of racing classes.
Honda’s new force in the WSBK paddock was about to come of age, as the unique family-based Ten Kate Honda team scored its first championship in World Supersport in 2002, before going on to win every single Riders’ Championship in WSS bar one from that year to this. Eight titles in total – all made possible by Castrol lubrication.
Ten Kate and Honda’s WSBK push led to a championship win in the biggest class of production-based racing there is, World Superbike, in 2007, with James Toseland the rider and Honda’s CBR1000RR Fireblade providing the motive force. Once again Castrol supplied the class-leading lubricants.
Race wins have been regular occurrences for Ten Kate, Honda and technical sponsor Castrol in the ensuing years, but for 2011 Castrol now enjoys top billing with Honda and Ten Kate, as Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus join forces to make an assault on the title.