You don't hear a lot about Honda's now-kaput single-seater program anymore, but they did build the fastest outright F1 car ever made.
Honda's F1 program wasn't a total loss. With rally legends Prodrive running BAR Honda, the team came second to the all-conquering Ferrari in 2004, for instance. Honda quit the sport before the '09 season, but their car (with some modification including a new Mercedes engine) absolutely dominated and won the championship as a Brawn. Brawn ended up getting sold to Mercedes, and the team has already won this year's manufacturer's title.
My favorite modern F1 moment for Honda came in 2006. It wasn't the worst year for the team, getting one race win and fourth place in the title standings, but it was far from the best, and the team could've used some publicity.
So they went to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The goal was to break 400 kph. That's just over 248 miles an hour, the kind of speed you get from a closed-wheeled streamliner, not an open-wheeled downforce machine.
Honda took a 2005 car with an unrestricted V10, nor rear wing, a rudder at the back, and a parachute, as F1 Fanatic explained. I should point out that the V10 in this 600 kilo car put out a 900 horsepower in ordinary trim, according to Honda.
Here's how the car looked in its record trim. Note the rudder at the back.
They did break the 400 barrier, but only on a single pass. A return pass is needed to get a record, which Honda didn't achieve as Autoblog reports.
They left with a record average of 397.360kph (246.908mph) in the mile and 397.481kph (246.983mph) in the flying kilometer.
No F1 car has ever gone faster.
Photo Credits: Honda