Earlier this week, the new Honda Civic WTCC hit the track for its first proper test. Following a brief shakedown on 27 July at Vairano, near Milan, the Honda Racing Team JAS moved to the Autodromo di Vallelunga, near Rome, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Gabriele Tarquini was leading the two-day test session, while Tiago Monteiro attended and had the opportunity to complete a few laps. The Portuguese driver will be at the wheel of the car on its WTCC debut in the last three events of the current season at Suzuka, Shanghai and Macau.
The test in Vallelunga was also the occasion for Honda to unveil the racing livery of the Civic. The new race car is the result of extensive wind-tunnel testing and the Civic WTCC sports a dynamic and stylish livery, which aims to accentuate its lines and imbues it with Hondas motorsport and racing pedigree.
The Honda Racing Team JAS have planned two more test sessions in Europe before shipping the car to Japan.
JAPANESE TECHNICIANS FLOCKED TO ITALY
A small army of engineers and technicians from Honda Motorsport Division, Honda R&D and Mugen Power flocked to Vallellunga for the Civic WTCCs first test.
Team principal Alessandro Mariani commented: To see the Civic on the race track is an extremely emotional moment for the whole team. I am so proud of everyone, as they have managed to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. Everyone has been working tirelessly for this day to happen and the new car and engine are no less than our expectations. The initial track testing has already provided us with a lot of feedback and data, but the road to Suzuka in October remains a long one.
Gabriele Tarquini added: Its funny, but although I had not driven the new Civic before, when I sat in it for the first time I immediately felt I was inside a Honda car. The car is precise and the engine feels great, but this is just the first track test, so there is so much more for us to work on.