On December 4, Honda held the 2016 Honda Racing Thanks Day at Twin Ring Motegi, where there were “dream races” given by this season’s F1 drivers and MotoGP riders.
This year’s event was a two-parter, starting off first with MotoGP racers Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, and in the second half, featuring 4-wheel F1 racers Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, and indie racer Takuma Sato. Before the race, fellow Spaniards Alonso and Marquez swore not to be defeated, and the race was on.
The opening race was a lively side-by-side battle flanked by crowds of cheering fans. The second half saw a three-way race between Alonso, Vandoorne and Takuma. A breathtaking fight until the very last lap, the winner was Takuma. Second was Alonso and third was Vandoorne.
The second part saw appearances by Japanese drivers and team directors. A two-person semi-endurance race was held.
Alonso joined Super GT and Super Formula racer Tomoki Nojiri, along with fellow Belgians Vandoorne and Bertrand Baguette, who races in Japan. It was a tight race from the very start of the first half, and the second half was Nojiri versus Vandoorne. A tight race between fellow Docomo Team Dandelion Racing members, the offense and defense ended with a victory for Vandoorne but not without a stunning performance given by Nojiri. The fans stuffing the stands were on the edge of their seats.
(Translated by Greg Scott)