• 2016 Honda Civic Coupe GRC Competitive Race Car

Honda’s new rallycross racer makes its debut at the SEMA Show

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Honda is using the 2016 SEMA Show to introduce its new race car for the Red Bull Global Rallycross. Developed by Olsbergs MSE, a Swedish racing team that also designs race cars, the new GRC-spec Civic Coupe will replace the car that ran against Volkswagen, Ford, and Subaru in the 2016 season, placing third in the manufacturers’ championship. The designing team also received input from Honda Performance Development (HPD), the brand’s racing division, which has created many successful race cars over the last few years.

Honda is a pretty new entry in the Red Bull Global Rallycross, itself a recently established sport, having been launched in 2011. The Japanese brand joined the competition last year, also with a race car based on the Civic Coupe. The compact raced against GRC-spec versions of the Ford Fiesta ST, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, Volkswagen Beetle, and Hyundai Veloster. Honda and Olsbergs MSE finished the season third and are hoping to do better in 2017.

Not much is known about the new race car at the of this writing, but Honda did release a batch of photos and just enough info for a short review. We should find out more at the 2016 SEMA Show in November so make sure you stick around for updates.

Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Civic Coupe GRC Competitive Race Car.


Honda didn’t have much to say about the race car’s exterior, but the photos suggest it is heavily based on the new Civic Coupe. The GRC-spec model retains quite a few features from the standard model, including the overall shape and size, the roof, glass house, and most of the front and rear fascias. However, the coupe did receive plenty of modifications in the lower half in order to become suitable for rallycross. The bumper lost the traditional side vents with daytime running lights and received a wider center grille and new splitter, while the grille sports black elements and a new mesh. The engine hood was modified to include vents above each wheel, as well as quick-release pins.

The coupe received plenty of modifications in the lower half in order to become suitable for rallycross.

Onto the sides, we can see beefed-up wheel arches, big vents in the rear fenders, rounded out side skirts, and a set of custom wheels finished in high-sheen red. Although Honda doesn’t provide a good view of the rear, we can definitely see the big wing and the red-painted diffuser. Likely still a concept as of this writing, the Civic Coupe GRC looks more than ready to go rallycrossing. What’s more, the body kit works well with the Civic Coupe’s new aggressive styling.


There’s no pictures or information of what’s beyond the dark-tinted glass, but based on GRC regulations, the Civic should keep only a handful of original parts. While the dashboard may still resemble that of the stock car, it shouldn’t include the usual center stack features or the standard instrument cluster. Also, don’t expect the car to have a center tunnel or a standard gear shifter and handbrake lever. GRC cars also come with an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, Recaro racing seats, bare metal floors, lightweight door panels, and a simple screen for an instrument cluster. If you’re not familiar with rallycross, just have a look at the interior of a current World Rally Championship car. They should be very similar.


2016 Honda Civic Coupe GRC Competitive Race Car High Resolution Exterior
- image 693433

Drivetrain information is also slim, but Honda did say that the car will boast "more than 600 horsepower" thanks to its revised turbocharged engine. The Japanese brand also mentioned that the Civic Coupe will need only 1.9 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. Yup, that’s no typo, the Civic Coupe GRC is quicker than the Bugatti Chiron and any other production supercar out there. The benchmark shouldn’t shock you either, ass two-second 0-to-60 mph times are the norm in this series. As you might have already guess based on this figure, the vehicle is equipped with an all-wheel drive system. The race car was also designed to handle the 70-foot table-top jumps featured on each racetrack, so we’re looking at a vehicle that’s not only quicker, but also tougher than a WRC car. It’s also worth noting that these racers are devoid of any electronic traction aids.


2016 Honda Civic Coupe GRC Competitive Race Car High Resolution Exterior
- image 693434

While Honda is still a novice in this series, Olsbergs MSE is among the veterans of the rallycross scene. The Swedish team began racing in 2005 and hasn’t stopped since then. After nine years of racing with the Ford Fiesta, the Swedes opted to go with the Civic Coupe, which came with technical assistance from Honda Performance Development. While the first season didn’t go very well, things could change in 2017 as both sides have gathered a significant amount of experience in 2016. It’s too early to predict what will happen, but HPD has delivered some impressive race cars over the years and Olsbergs knows what a car like the Civic Coupe needs in order to become a GRC champion.

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    • Stiff competition
    • Honda is still new to the series
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Fresh off the heels of the 2016 Global Rallycross season finale, the 2016 GRC Civic Coupe Competitive Race car arrives on the SEMA floor, literally covered with track dust and dirt. Developed from a production-model 2016 Civic Coupe chassis by renowned builders and racers Olsbergs MSE (OMSE) with technical assistance from Honda Performance Development (HPD), the Civic Red Bull GRC car is built to withstand the rigorous demands of racing in a series that emphasizes repeated aggressive acceleration and varied terrain. The car will boast more than 600 horsepower, turn in a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds and is designed to handle the 70-foot table-top jumps featured on each racetrack.

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