Honda Yuasa Racing has left it late to reveal the car it will campaign in the British Touring Car Championship this year. This is it, the new Honda Civic Type R.
Honda ran the unique Civic Tourer last year, which quickly became the most successful estate in BTCC history (only Volvo had raced one before), but the team endured a disappointing season by its usual standards, only winning four of the 30 races.
The team starts with a clean sheet of paper for the new car. Based on the road-going Honda Civic Type R, which goes on sale later this year, the new machine has improved handling and aerodynamics and a better engine, producing 350bhp and 295lb/ft of torque.
Technical Director Barry Plowman said: “Our car for 2015 is going to win races. The shape of the new road going Civic Type R has allowed the team to build on the design and take it forward to be a championship winning car.”
The team has retained drivers Matt Neal and a Gordon Sheddon, both former champions, for the the sixth successive season.
Neal, who owns the Team Dynamics outfit that builds and runs the cars, said: “We are as excited as anybody to start running the Civic Type R, which is a massive step forward from last year’s Tourer – from the engine to the handling and aerodynamics.”
“The Civic Type R is an iconic car,” added Sheddon. “We are champing at the bit to get this car out on the track. It’s going to stand out and cause a real stir on the track. Especially when we clean up in the championship!”
The Civic Type R racer will be officially unveiled in its racing livery at the BTCC media day at Donington Park next week. The season starts at Brands Hatch on 5 April.
Honda struggled to get on top of its unconventional car last year, having thus far dominated the current turbocharged era. Despite the late start, the team should get to grips with the more familiar new hatchback machine pretty quickly. But they are facing possibly the most competitive season of recent times.