The winner of a global contest between Honda’s design studios, Project 2&4 is a joint project between the firm’s motorcycle and car designers in Osaka and Wako respectively.
It’s some 40cm shorter than an Atom, at just 3040mm long, and a little wider, at 1820mm. Honda says the car’s layout and livery are inspired by the RA272 Formula 1 machine that became the first Japanese car to win at the top level of motorsport by claiming the Mexican Grand Prix 40 years ago this October.
Project 2&4 features a novel layout, with the RC213V MotoGP bike’s 999cc V4 engine mounted at one side of the chassis and a single seat ‘suspended’ above the ground by extrusions on the other side. Honda claims the design is intended to give the driver the same feeling of freedom that he would have on a motorcycle and, barring a four-point harness and a deeply scalloped seat, there’s little to hold the occupant in place. The carbonfibre seat slides fore and aft on protruding hinges.
The V4 motor has been detuned for road use, but Honda says it still produces more than 212bhp at a heady 13,000rpm. The peak torque figure of 87lb ft comes at 10,500rpm, and the limiter will cut in at 14,000rpm (the same figure as the RA272’s 1.5-litre V12, incidentally). Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that’s controlled via paddles behind the steering wheel.
The motorcycle engine and bare single-seat layout help Project 2&4 to a remarkable kerb weight of just 405kg — a full 115kg lighter than the two-seat Atom and enough to give the car a power-to-weight ratio of 523bhp per tonne.