Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda returned to China last week for its second promotional visit of 2003, with Takuma Sato getting his first chance to experience the country prior to next year's Chinese Grand Prix (26 September).

The trip was an opportunity to build upon the business relationships B*A*R has established this year and also to meet with other commercial and political figures throughout the region.

Takuma Sato.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
The whistle-stop tour began on Tuesday in Beijing, where Takuma was introduced to Team Partner SINA and took part in a number of media events. He also managed to visit the historical former Imperial palace, the Forbidden City.

On Wednesday the team flew on to Shanghai, China's commercial capital to meet with Japanese businesses based in China and to take part in the Shanghai Automobile Race and Utility Vehicle Exhibition before returning home on Thursday.

Commenting on the visit, Takuma said: "The aim of this trip was to develop the team's flourishing relationship with China and to meet Japanese businesses within China. It was quite literally a flying visit, but we were able to pack in a lot of activities.

"Personally, the trip was extremely interesting. Being Japanese, my homeland is very close geographically to China, but I have never had the opportunity to visit before. Beijing and Shanghai are both very impressive but with two very different characters. Shanghai is very dynamic and full of energy, while Beijing is more serene but full of history.

"I think China will be a great location for a Grand Prix. There is such interest in Formula One and a rapidly growing understanding, which was pleasantly surprising. It's going to be a great race!"