The manufacturer specialist of high revving SCREAMER engines finally has done it... it has gone turbocharged
Honda announced Gabriele Tarquini and the portuguese Tiago Monteiro as the drivers for its first campaign in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The pair will be at the wheel of the new Civic WTCC cars run by Honda Racing Team JAS in 2013.
JAS Motorsport are currently developing the European Honda Civic 5-door racing car, whilst Honda R&D has designed and built a new 1.6 litre 4 cylinder direct injection turbo-charged petrol engine at its research and development centre in Tochigi.
As part of its development programme, Honda will enter one car for Monteiro in the three final events of the 2012 WTCC, at Suzuka, Shanghai and Macau. Honda R&D and Mugen will provide trackside support to the team as the new engine makes its racing debut.
Tarquini has claimed 17 WTCC race victories and was crowned champion in 2009; he rejoins Honda and JAS Motorsport for which he raced from 1997 to 2001 in the British, German and European Touring Car Championships.
Also a WTCC race winner with four victories, Monteiro claimed a third place in the 2005 F1 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
Honda CEO Takanobu Ito explained: “We took the decision to enter in the WTCC with the European Civic. We will develop a totally new engine for this project and we are all excited about starting this new challenge.” For this project, Honda formed a joint partnership with Mugen and J.A.S. Motorsport. Mugen will manufacture a 1.6-litre turbo bespoke racing engine developed by Honda R&D and will maintain it at the races along with the team. J.A.S. Motorsport will develop the racecar, using the new Honda Civic 5-door produced in Honda’s manufacturing plant located in Swindon, UK. Honda’s ambition is to join the WTCC as early as this season, with a string of “inaugural rounds”. Discussions are currently being held with the FIA, but these rounds would include Japan (on 21 October at Suzuka), China and Macau. Honda will then enter a two-car team, managed by J.A.S. Motorsport, in the full 2013 championship season. Honda’s commitment in motor sport dates back to Fifties (Isle of Man’s Tourist Trophy) and the Sixties (fist F1 programme) and resulted several successes that include five F1 world titles in both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ championships. Honda press release also reads: “The FIA WTCC is the next chapter in Honda’s on-going commitment to world motor sport and provides a perfect platform to demonstrate its racing spirit to Honda’s numerous fans around the world.”
The car will be first presented next August.
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