The brand-new Honda Civic Type R is going racing for the first time, and we don’t mean you can download it on Gran Turismo. The Japanese company has asked an Italian engineering team named JAS Motorsport to turn its newest hot hatch into a wide-bodied track monster.
The Civic Type R is being built to compete in the TCR International Series. The races are held all over the world — including in Belgium, Italy, China, and the United Arab Emirates — so the cars need to stay in tip-top shape in all kinds of weather and atmospheric conditions. To that end, TCR has fitted the Type R’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a special electronic control unit (ECU). JAS isn’t ready to publish a full list of modifications, lest its hard-earned racing knowledge end up in the wrong set of hands.
And then, of course, there are the visual modifications. You don’t need a well-trained eye to tell the Type R has gone through a complete transformation. The front bumper gets a splitter, the hood features a large scoop, and the back end is fitted with a wing the size of a parking bench. Fender flares and side skirts are equally hard to miss. JAS explains the aerodynamic package cuts drag and improves downforce. In simpler terms, they enable the Type R to record faster lap times.
The first few examples of the Honda Civic Type R TCR will land in customer hands in December, meaning they’ll be completed in time for the start of the 2018 TCR season. JAS expects demand to greatly outpace supply, so it suggests teams interested in adding the hot-rodded Civic to their stable get in touch as fast as possible. Pricing information hasn’t been released yet.
Out on the track, the Civic Type R will need to fend off competition from similarly modified variants of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the SEAT Leon, among other economy cars put on steroids. It will also need to beat its predecessor, which is based on the last generation of the Type R that we never saw in the United States. It’s currently leading the TCR series with 364 points.
“Our first Civic Type R TCR car has won five championships already and is in contention for another eight this year in Europe and Asia, and our aim is to ensure that the new car continues to raise the bar for TCR competition globally,” explained JAS Motorsport in a statement.