Episode Five, Season Two of ‘Behind the Dream’ explores the character and philosophy of HRC Director Tetsuhiro Kuwata – a figure often see at many of HRC’s two-wheeled competitions around the world.
Kuwata-san joined Honda Motor in 2000, working on the Automobile R&D Centre for the F1 Project. From 2005 to 2008, he was an Engine Development Engineer and Test Team Lead Engineer inside Honda Racing Development. In 2009, he worked for the Production Automobile Project and he landed in MotoGP in 2010 as Control Strategy Development Engineer. In 2016 he became HRC Director – General Manager of Race Operations Management Division and oversees HRC’s racing activities in all forms, from MotoGP to the Dakar. It leads to a busy schedule which sees him traveling the globe to stay on top of HRC’s two-wheeled racing efforts.
“These kind of bad results… Difficult to accept. There is a big chance to get something because what I don’t like, I hate to lose.”
Managing Honda’s return to MotoGP form while also overseeing the brand’s efforts in WorldSBK, Trials, MXGP and Dakar makes for a busy schedule. “My father, he was crazy working, from the morning and not only midnight, even sometimes two or three o’clock. But looks he was happy, very happy. At that time, I couldn’t understand why he’s happy. Now, every day I’m working until midnight or later. One day my kids asked me: ‘why are you working so hard?’ But there is let’s say fuel to do it. I hated that kind of lifestyle of my father but finally, I am doing the same!”
A deep understanding of Honda and Japan’s culture is at the center of the Kuwata’s work. “We are always trying to improve a human being’s life and finally we try to give back to the customer something for fun. Some people want to have like a sports bike or a MotoGP, some people want to go just 10 meters or cannot walk, you need something too. We have to give the message from Honda which is dreams come true.” The Power of Dreams continues to be a driving mantra for Honda and for HRC.
Hailing from Kyoto, Kuwata-san’s love for engines came from a somewhat unique place; “It’s coming through from the cartoon stories when I was a child,” he remembers. A love for anime led him to join Mugen and work his way through Honda’s various four-wheeled racing departments, specializing in engines. Reminders of his times as an engineer are all around the halls of Honda, “Half of my life is in this museum,” he exclaimed as he entered the Honda Collection Hall. “When I started in this racing career, I was working for Formula 3, but my dream is I wanted to be working for Formula 1. I wanted to go there and also, I wanted to make, let’s say, a No. 1 engine in the world. I had a big target. And also, Honda itself is trying to challenge something for the future.”
“If you believe in dreams all the time, if you are working hard, keep going to show to the people you can do everything. Maybe it will help to go to your dreams.”
The full episode is available on the Honda Racing Corporation YouTube page, along with all previous seasons and episodes of Behind the Dream.