Honda to join FIA WTCC with the European Civic, CEO Takanobu Ito revealed

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 3, 2012

Honda has decided that its European Civic will participate in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the automaker's CEO Takanobu Ito has disclosed. He further stated that they will develop a "totally new" engine for this endeavor and that they are "all excited" in commencing this "new challenge." 

For this project, Honda has entered into a joint partnership with Mugen and J.A.S. Motorsport. Honda R&D is creating a bespoke racing engine, while Mugen will manufacture and maintain it.

Meanwhile, J.A.S. Motorsport will create the race vehicle, utilizing the new Honda Civic 5 door built in Honda's Swindon (UK) manufacturing facility. The racing engine is a 4-cylinder, 1.6-liter, turbo-charged, direct injection petrol engine, which is developed in line with the Super 2000 regulations of the FIA.

The ambition of Honda is to participate in the WTCC as early as this season with a series of "inaugural rounds". Talks are ongoing with the FIA. However, these rounds would include Japan to be held on October 21, 2012 at Honda's Suzuka circuit, and then followed by Macau and China. Honda will enter a two-vehicle team managed by J.A.S. Motorsport into every race in the 2013 championship season.

This endeavor is being run independently by the Honda Racing British Touring Car Championship winning team. Three-time BTCC Champion Matt Neal as well as Gordon 'Flash' Shedden will run the race-prepared Team Dynamics variant of the new Civic. They will be lining up on the grid at Brands Hatch on this April 1 for the first race of this year's season.

The current Honda Civic, which was originally launched in 2006, had seen a change in the kind of layout approach with the creation and development of a new platform that is uniquely based on a "center tank" layout. This center tank layout was designed to offer benefits that are practical, including large cabin space meeting the needs of "C" category European customers. What’s more, the Civic was developed and designed for the European market and has received positive feedback in various areas like design and versatility or practicality. This helped define the current model as having a ‘road presence’ with its ‘futuristic looks,’ as well as a ‘multi-purpose’ function with its large boot space and multiple seating arrangements with its ‘magic seats.’

The new Honda Civic development team considered the key milestones that were achieved with the current Civic when it started its new research. The team decided to maintain and perhaps enhance the qualities of the current Civic model. Moreover, the team wanted to create a fresh emotional design with an ability to surprise you with the unexpected, especially in terms of spaciousness and other practical features. The team also wanted to improve visibility and to widen your field of vision, therefore enhancing your overall experience.

Compared to its competitors, the current Civic had achieved superior interior space already, with matching trunk capacity to boot. So, the focus now was to maintain this class-leading interior space as Honda improves on the Civic’s overall space efficiency and packaging.

These efforts would lead to a reinvented exterior design and an improved aerodynamic performance, while reducing the weight that plays a role in improving the Civic’s overall performance envelope.

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