The new Honda Civic is getting its first taste of official racing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. In preparation for its full entry in the 2013 season, the Civic WTCC race car is going to be thrown into the fire beginning at Suzuka in October. From there, it will enter three races and will be driven by Tiago Monteiro.
With October less than two months away, the Japanese automaker is giving its new racer one last test run at the Vallelunga circuit, near Rome, Italy. The car itself is based on the European Civic hatchback model where it carries a host of special aero packages, including an extended front and rear skirt, a large rear wing, and an interior that’s been fully customized to handle the rigors of full-fledged auto racing.
Most importantly, the Civic WTCC will not be carrying a standard engine, but rather a bespoke 1.6-liter 4 cylinder direct injection turbocharged HR-412E engine. No details on output have been released yet, although Daisuke Horiuchi, WTCC Development Project Leader at Honda R&D, has said that this particular engine could have a future in production models.
"We believe the innovations that have led to this revolutionary engine will also lead to benefits beyond the race track, helping us to further increase the efficiency of our road car engines," he said.
Looks like there’s more to the Honda Civic WTCC Race Car than meets the eye. Could it be that whatever lies under the hood of this race makes its way out of the track and into public streets in the future?
While it’s tempting to find that out now, it’s probably more important for Honda to give the race car the full shakedown first leading up to its racing debut at Suzuka this October.
UPDATE 09/27/12: The Civic WTCC Race Car made its auto show debut at the Paris Motor Show where Daisuke Horiuchi, the WTCC Development Project Leader at Honda R&D, had the following to say about the new HR-412E engine that will be powering the race car. “In the continuous technological development of an internal combustion engine, the thermal efficiency is the essential key for improvement," he said. "This HR412E was born from such thought process: aiming for higher efficiency."