Following several thorough test sessions at the circuits of Aragon, Barcelona, Le Castellet and Valencia with the brand new Honda Civic WTCC, Honda R&D and J.A.S. Motorsport are ready for the start of the FIA WTCC 2014.
The FIA World Touring Car Championship 2014 starts on April 13th on the street circuit of Marrakech. The season ends on November 16th, with another street race in Macau. In total, the season boasts twelve events on five continents, with a total of 24 races.
The most important change is the new FIA technical rulebook, which is why the Civic WTCC now has impressive, muscular looks and a lot more power under the hood. J.A.S. Motorsport was tasked with building and developing the chassis, while Honda R&D managed to put a 380 bhp strong 1.6 litre 4 cylinder direct injection turbo-charged petrol engine in the Civic, with Mugen providing trackside support.
Four Civics WTCC
2013 saw the first full FIA WTCC season for the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team. The driver pairing of Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro scored three wins, and Honda conquered the Manufacturers’ Title. As the saying goes, ‘Never change a winning team’, and that is why the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team – Honda’s official team – enters two Civics WTCC for Italian Gabriele Tarquini – World Touring Car Champion in 2009 – and Tiago Monteiro from Portugal.
The official Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team will be pitted against two private teams. Hungarian Norbert Michelisz proved that he deserved his spot in the third, private Zengő Motorsport Civic with a win last year in Suzuka. This year there will be a fourth Civic, entered by the Italian private Proteam Racing and will be in the capable hands of Moroccan Mehdi Bennani. J.A.S. Motorsport will build the cars to the same specifications as Honda’s own Civic WTCC.
New Engine, New Car – Same Team Spirit
The new rules also brought more power by allowing the fitting of a larger diameter restrictor (33 mm to 36mm), and Honda R&D also took the opportunity to bring several evolutions for the 2014 version of the HR412-E.
Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC engine development at Honda R&D said: “On top of having created a new casting for the block & sump, we also made great progress on the intake and combustion. After these first track tests, I am satisfied that the simulations we have carried on the test bench have been confirmed in real life on the track. Our only job is now to fine tune the engine management.”
Commenting on the technical evolution of the Honda Civic WTCC 2014, Andrea Adamo, Chief Designer, J.A.S. Motorsport, said: “The new Civic WTCC does not have much in common with last year’s Civic. Everything is new: the chassis, the engine, the suspension, the aerodynamic parts, even the size of the tyres has changed! Considering we started the project in September 2013 and were able to perform a shakedown of the new Civic WTCC in January 2014, our staff really have done an incredible job in a short amount of time.”
Alessandro Mariani, Managing Director and Team Principal of J.A.S. Motorsport, said: “We are very proud that we can bring the new Civic WTCC 2014 at the start of what will be a very exciting FIA WTCC season. It has been hard work all through winter and the late rule changes did not make our lives any easier. We have set high aims, but the test sessions we completed show that we are moving in the right direction. The team spirit we’ve created will be essential to get us through this challenging campaign.”
A new car also deserves a new colour scheme, to better reflect the dynamism of the new Civic WTCC 2014 of the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team. The stylish new design marries the colours of Honda Racing (white and red) with those of the team’s title sponsor – the world famous high-performance lubricant brand Castrol (red and green on white) – and co-sponsor, the Brose Group (red), an international automotive supplier.
In line with Honda’s philosophy of sharing the joys of racing with its customers, a more interactive “Honda fan zone” will be this time introduced in the paddock of the European rounds of the 2014 WTCC; giving spectators the chance to get closer than ever to the Honda racing world.