Complete lunatic! 2018 Honda Civic Type R TCR racer revealed
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sure, but there are certain cars out there that simply can't avoid causing division. And the new Honda Civic Type R is that car for the whole calendar year of 2017.
Reviewing it earlier this year, I'm in both camps. It is an objectively ugly machine in person, but I can't help but love it at the same time. There's something deeply rebellious and cheeky about a manufacturer throwing all caution to the wind in regards to design, and simply creating something designed purely to be as aerodynamic and fast as possible.
“People might think it looks over the top? Who gives a crap.”
My interpretation of the Type R's styling was that it looked very much like a mini-me GT300 or TCR touring car, as if it was designed as a race car first and a road car second (a little like the new Ford GT). Well, say hi to its first race-car spin off; the new TCR-spec Honda Civic Type R.
For those not familiar with TCR, it's a relatively new international touring car formula that conjures shades of the old super touring days that so many look back upon fondly. The cars are generally all based around hatchback and compact sedan platforms, with the old Civic Type R racing alongside racing versions of the Volkswagen Golf R, Audi RS3 sedan, and Subaru Impreza. All of them, like this Civic, sport a wild aero package — complete with wide-body kit and a deep front and rear spoiler.
Built by JAS Motorsport out of Italy, an initial run of 25 FK8 Type Rs will be produced for the world's TCR market (sadly, the closest one will likely get to New Zealand is Asia). The car was developed in Italy by JAS Motorsport — the go-to team when it comes to Honda Civic race cars in world motorsport. Their first customers will get their cars in December.
“As this is only a first run it’s too early to say much about the car, but initial impressions were that it feels well-balanced,” said the team's test driver and reigning TCR Italy champion Roberto Colciago, fresh from a shakedown at the Autodromo Tazio Nuvolari.
“The engine is responsive and the gearbox and other major areas like the aero package are improved over the old car, which was itself a multiple championship-winner. Anybody who races this car next year is going to have a very competitive package.”
Of course, when it comes to the road car it's been long rumoured that a more mellow version of the Type R is coming. Those rumours were further fanned late last week, with various American outlets reporting that fresh NHTSA documents showed that an 'entry level' Type R (noted down under the 'Touring' moniker with the same K20C1 engine and FK8-based model code) was on the way.
One assumes that the new model will come with some kind of aero delete, which might appease 'the haters'.
If only for a little while.