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.