Italian engineering firm JAS Motorsport has just unveiled this, the FL5 Honda Civic Type R TCR: the latest Honda-badged touring car.
Honda’s new FL5-generation Civic Type R has been met with an almost unanimously positive reception (starting price aside, that is), so it should come as no surprise that the FL5 will also keep Honda’s rich history of touring car racing going too.
What Is A Touring Car?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of touring car racing, the idea is simple. The races tend to work similarly as they do in F1, format-wise, however the cars themselves are very different. Instead of the open-wheel spaceships you get at the top level of the sport, touring car racing makes use of much more recognizable marques and models.
Ever heard of the phrase, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday”? Well, this is where it stems from. If you see a car do well in motorsport, you might be more likely to buy its roadgoing equivalent.
Honda has a long-standing history in this more down-to-earth style of racing. Here in the UK, the brand has powered the likes of Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden, and Andrew Jordan to multiple BTCC titles. In fact, the FK2 Civic Type R remains the most successful vehicle from the current British Touring Car Championship regulations era.
This particular FL5 won’t be seen in the BTCC though. Instead, this version of the car has been built to a different set of rules, namely the worldwide ‘TCR’ formula. The brainchild of Marcello Lotti, TCR allows drivers and teams to compete with equal machinery all around the world. As a set of sporting regulations, it’s one of the most financially sustainable forms of motorsport that there is, along with the likes of GT3 and GT4 racing.
So, what does a TCR car look like? Well, this new FL5 Honda Civic Type R TCR will give you a good idea.
Honda Civic Type R TCR (FL5) In Depth
Although still recognizably an FL5, this Civic TCR has had a comprehensive makeover, featuring enhanced downforce devices designed to keep the car pinned to the track. Underneath that aggressive exterior, a new reinforced chassis aids cornering stability and improves driver safety too.
If you were to peer inside of the car’s cabin, you’d find something entirely different to that of a roadgoing FL5. As you’d expect of any racecar, this Civic TCR has been totally stripped out, featuring only the most necessary interior features. All of which have been designed to be as ergonomic as possible for the driver, regardless of skill level.
A heavily overhauled version of the road car’s 2.0-litre K20C1 block lies under the hood. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine has been strengthened for race use and should output around 350PS in line with TCR formula requirements.
In most cases, touring cars tend to be used in sprint races, lasting between 30-60 minutes. However, it is possible to enter TCR vehicles into much longer events than that. If you plan on doing so, you’ll probably want to invest in the Honda Civic Type R TCR’s endurance package. This adds features such as additional lighting, driver cooling, and anti-lock brakes. You also get a ‘quick-fill’ fuel system, which should prove handy in pit stops.
Testing of this new racecar has already begun, with this year’s World Touring Car Cup runner-up Nestor Girolami sitting behind the wheel. Production is set to ramp up over the winter, as the first customer cars are set to reach their owners by April 2023.