NZ's latest touring car addition is a wild, winged Honda Civic Type R
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Rumours have been flowing thick and fast for months now about global touring car formula TCR arriving on our shores as a potential premier tin-top category. A report overnight from velocitynews.co.nz has claimed that a TCR championship is set to launch in time for 2020, with a formal announcement from MotorSport New Zealand seemingly on the horizon.
In the meantime, there are already numerous TCR cars in the country (including some Volkswagen Golfs, at least one incoming Hyundai i30, and a rather fetching SEAT Leon Cupra). The majority of these are second-hand private imports, like this newly revealed FK2-generation Honda Civic Type R.
Campaigned by Capri Racing, it's set to make its competitive debut at this weekend's North Island Endurance Series event at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupō tomorrow. There it will rub shoulder-to-shoulder with various V8 touring cars, GT cars, and barn-built creations. Those wanting to attend the event can do so for free.
Its driver list sports a familiar name; former NZV8 and endurance champion John McIntyre. He partners former SEAT Supercopa driver Lochlainn Fitzgerald-Symes.
“It’s going to be a bit of a shock to the system after all of these years in high powered V8’s and laterally a Porsche to this front wheel drive touring car with no ABS or traction control," said McIntyre.
"I am really excited to team up with young Lochie and Capri Racing. It’s going to be a great challenge. We enjoyed 100 trouble free laps at Taupo last week and I can now understand why TCR is a worldwide phenomenon.
"The Honda moves around a lot and without ABS and traction control that has become common in racing it requires a different driving style and some respect.”
“Having Johnny as part of the team has really lifted the game to a different level," added Fitzgerald-Symes.
"The things we were doing and changes we were making in testing last week were just unreal, god gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason, I intend to listen hard and take everything out of the experience."
The Honda sports a K20C1 i-VTEC 2.0-litre turbocharged engine derived from its road-going cousin. This helps keep costs down while simultaneously maintaining some of Honda's manufacturer DNA in each car. Power in TCR-spec cars is regulated to around 257kW/420Nm, while each car uses either a TCR-supplied sequential transmission, or a manufacturer-derived sequential or paddle-shift.
Designed by graphical guru Mark Curran, this sharp Type R could be an early insight into this country's touring car future. But, as has always been the case, New Zealand's motorsport landscape can never be predicted.