In the off-season, Honda made a few updates to its WTCC entry including better aerodynamics, improved suspension and braking and numerous engine and turbo enhancements. Two teams will field the new Civic racecar in this year's season: Honda Racing Team JAS and a private team from Hungary, Zengő Motorsport.
Fans of the WTCC in the US will be pleased to know that series makes a return visit to Sonoma Raceway on September 8 for the Race of the United States.
Honda Ready for WTCC 2013
March 1, 2013 - Following the completion of its final development test in Aragon, Spain this month, Honda Racing Team JAS is ready and raring to go for the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship. The Championship will begin with the Race of Italy on 24 March 2013, finally ending in Macau on 17 November after twenty-four races.
Honda Racing Team JAS ready and raring to go
Honda will be entering a two car works team. The drivers are Italian Gabriele Tarquini – 2009 World Touring Car Champion - and Portuguese Tiago Monteiro. Honda's R&D has developed a completely bespoke 1.6 liter 4 cylinder direct injection turbo-charged petrol engine to power its Civic WTCC race car in the Championship, with Mugen providing trackside support.
The team got off to a flying start at the end of last year, entering the Civic WTCC into the last three races of the 2012 championship. This saw Monteiro claim the car's first podium finish at Macau in November, while the Civic WTCC gained the second-fastest time (at 2:31.844) at the same race.
Alessandro Mariani, Team Principal of J.A.S. Motorsport, said: "I am very proud of the great job that Honda and our staff have done to get us ready for the 2013 Championship, and of the team spirit we've created, which will be essential to get us through the challenging campaign ahead.
"And whilst we know it will be extremely difficult as a newcomer to win the Championship this year, for Honda and racing fans around the world, we are making this our goal."
The Honda R&D and J.A.S. Motorsport teams have put the Civic WTCC through its paces with their winter development testing programme. In December 2012, the car spent 3 days in the Honda R&D wind tunnel in Tochigi, followed by another 3 days in Valencia and Aragon in January and February respectively.
Commenting on the technical evolution of the 2013 Honda Civic WTCC, Andrea Adamo, Chief Designer, Honda Racing Team JAS, said: "Following extensive testing, we have made a number of improvements to the Civic WTCC. We have improved the car's aerodynamics and enhanced the suspension design, as well as the front structure of the car. We have also fitted the brakes with bespoke front and rear calipers in cooperation with AP Racing."
Daisuke Horiuchi, the WTCC Development Project Leader at Honda R&D, said: "The WTCC is an exciting sprint race where tail-to-nose dog-fight can last for 20 minutes. To overtake the car in front with less than 50cm between them our drivers need to react in a fraction of a second, so they need the guarantee of an instant response from the engine and car.
"To achieve this, we've focused our development on improving the driveability of the car. We also fine-tuned the engine to give the drivers greater control, so they can drive in whatever style they wish. This has involved, amongst other work, various improvements to the fine controls of the turbocharger's turbine revolution, the turbo-boost control and the pick-up of the engine rev. We also worked on the shape of the intake port, optimizing the intake manifold length as well as modifying the ignition system."
The Honda Racing Team JAS will be pitted against a private team, Hungarian-based Zengő Motorsport, who confirmed earlier this year that they will enter the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) with the Honda Civic WTCC. The car will be driven by Hungarian driver Norbert Michelisz. J.A.S. Motorsport will build the car for the team to the same specifications as Honda's own Civic WTCC.
In line with Honda's philosophy of sharing the joys of racing with its customers, a "Honda fan zone" will be introduced in the paddock of the European rounds of the 2013 WTCC; giving spectators the chance to get closer than ever to the Honda racing world.
•WTCC is the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
•Vehicle specification is strictly regulated by FIA Super 2000 category
•All vehicles which compete in the championship are based on mass production cars with more than 4 seats.
•The championship is reserved for cars powered by a 1.6 liter petrol engine, turbo-charged with direct injection.
•The distance of each race varies between 50 km and 60km
•The full racing season covers 12 racing weekends (two races per weekend)
Technical specifications of the 2013 Honda Civic WTCC
•In line 4 cylinder direct injection turbocharged with intercooler;
•Capacity: 1.6 liters;
•Dry oil sump;
Weight and Dimensions
•Mass: 1100 Kg;
•Length: 4300 mm;
•Wideness: 1830 mm;
•Wheelbase: 2605 mm