Honda horsepower revs-up Children In Need fundraising drive at CarFest 2014

Honda’s support of CarFest 2014 raises vital funds for BBC Children In NeedBruno Senna gets behind the wheel of NSX supercar once driven by his uncleMore than 1000 festival-goers interact with Honda experiences

Honda (UK) played a vital role in raising much-needed funds for BBC Children In Need with its support of CarFest 2014, contributing towards a total sum of £1.5 million through a variety of on-track thrills and off-track pursuits.Having wowed spectators with fast cars and bikes, famous faces and interactive activities at CarFest North; Honda again featured right at the heart of the high-octane action both on and off-track at the sold-out CarFest South, held at Laverstoke Park Farm, Hampshire.Tens of thousands of enthralled fans poured through the gates at both Laverstoke and Oulton Park earlier this month, with Honda laying on an array of crowd-pleasing activities, displays and demonstration runs for those of all ages to enjoy.On-track, former Formula One and sportscar star Bruno Senna captivated onlookers at Laverstoke with a series of demo laps in a 1990 first-generation Honda NSX once driven by his uncle, legendary three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna. Bruno, who was thrilled to be reunited with childhood memories, ran in the ‘Anniversary Seven’ parade and gave a number of passenger rides at the southern event.“The NSX is special for many reasons”, Bruno explained. “It’s the car that Ayrton helped Honda to develop back when he was racing Honda-powered McLaren cars in F1, so it’s a real pleasure to be driving something that he played such a major role in. It’s also the first fast road car I ever drove, in Portugal sitting on Ayrton’s lap when I was just a kid; he was controlling the pedals and gears while I was steering! It was just great fun and the first time I’d ever had a thrill like that, so the NSX always brings back some fantastic memories. Driving it here for Honda with the connections with the family obviously makes me very happy.”Bruno continued: “Ayrton had an amazing relationship with Honda throughout his racing career so, even though it’s been a few years, Honda still has a very special place in our hearts – we’ve always had a soft spot for the company. Every time we get the chance to do something with Honda, we always enjoy ourselves.”Senna was joined by two-time World Superbike Champion and erstwhile MotoGP ace James Toseland. Having driven the NSX himself at CarFest North – an old haunt from his British Superbike Championship days – the Yorkshireman switched to the Synchro Motorsport Racing Jazz at Carfest South, running as part of the ‘Motorsport Seven’.“When I got here and saw the Racing Jazz, I immediately realised it was a bit special,” confessed James. “These CarFest events are absolutely amazing – I didn’t realise the scale of them. I thought it would be just some car fanatics, but there really is something for everybody. You can go in a monster truck, learn to make ice cream, take a fairground ride… and Honda is even teaching kids to ride motorbikes!”Indeed, away from the track, no fewer than 329 young festival-goers donned helmets and knee pads to participate in ‘My First Licence’, a mini-motorbike taster session introducing 5-to-11-year-olds to the exciting world of motorcycling via restricted 50cc Honda CRF50 bikes in a safe and controlled environment. Meanwhile, an ATV Experience on Honda TRX420s taught more than 300 older teens the inside line on throttle control, slaloming, overcoming obstacles and balance; while 507 intrepid adventurers tried out Honda’s brace of sit-on lawn mowers, generating hilarious head-to-head racing around a timed course, where lane control and garbage-grabbing were the order of the day.All of Honda’s activities were centred around a vast air structure – designed to replicate the super-frugal 1.6 i-DTEC engine – and included a product experience area, car and motorbike displays and the innovative and interactive ‘Power of Lean’ demonstration to simulate Superbike-style knee-down riding.One of the biggest crowd reactions, finally, was reserved for Honda’s 109bhp Mean Mower – the world’s fastest lawn mower. Built by Honda’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship