Now that the 2013 motor sport season has come to a close, automakers all over the world are setting their sights on the 2014 season. Honda is no different, and this week they unveiled two brand-new Civic race cars they intend to put to the track next year.
2014 Civic WTCC Racer (Hatchback)
Unlike the Civic BTCC racer below, the only visual we have of the 2014 Civic WTCC racer is the digital rendering you see above. However, what a rendering it is; easily one of the most attractive cars we’ve seen in 2013. And just imagine that at one time it was nothing more than a plain old Civic five-door hatchback!
Compared to the FIA race car they used in the 2013 World Touring Car Championship, this one will get several updates. Some of them are aimed at complying with new regulations; others are simply aimed at improving performance.
Unfortunately, we don’t have an entire list of specific updates to refer you to. However, we do know that the incoming racer will get a more powerful engine, larger wheels, an extended rear spoiler and all-around improved aerodynamics.
2014 Civic BTCC Racer (Tourer)
This is Honda’s 2014 contribution to the British Touring Car Championship. As you can see, it is a Honda Civic Tourer-based race car with tons of performance upgrades. Interestingly enough, it’s will be the only wagon-based racer in next year’s BTCC. Traditionally wagons are heavier and less aerodynamic than their smaller, more compact counterparts. However, given Honda’s excellent performance in this and past year’s BTCCs, we’re sure that the longer roofline won’t have any impact in the car’s dominance on the track, and it will be interesting to know whether there is some aerodynamic benefit to this shape over a regular “saloon car” configuration.
Now, before you go raising that skeptical left eyebrow of yours, remember this: the Civic Touring is actually one of the most compact wagons out there. In fact, it’s only 9 inches longer than the Civic hatchbacks Honda used in 2013. The performance-tuned BTCC Tourer will actually weigh exactly the same, feature the same suspension, and have an identical wheelbase to the Civic hatchbacks of the 2013 season. They’ll even use the same drivers – Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden.
Also keep in mind that there could be some changes to the final BTCC racer, as Honda hasn’t officially started testing it yet. That will begin in January 2014.
Even with the aerodynamic tuning so obviously featured in the BTCC Tourer, there’s no doubt that the wagon will present some unique challenges compared to a hatchback. But, that’s exactly what Honda wants — after four straight years of championship titles, they’ve decided they’re going to make 2014 a challenge.
All in all, Honda has demonstrated a phenomenal affinity for motorsports racing, and there’s no reason to think that these two new cars will be anything less than stellar. If Honda can successfully pull out championships with a wagon-based race car, all the more power to them. Either way, you’ll have to check back next March to see how well these two new Civics can finish.
And then there’s Honda’s return to F1 coming in 2015. Even more too look forward to from this Japanese car maker.