Honda has released images of its 2014 Civic WTCC works car, taken during its first test session at Motorland Aragón in Spain, earlier this year.
The pictures were unveiled today in Tokyo, on the occasion of Honda’s annual motorsport press conference. The design of the new look Civic WTCC reflects the latest technical regulations and shows the subtle style of the wheel arch extensions, 18” wheels, sleeker aero package and extended rear spoiler.
In Tokyo, Takanobu Ito, President & CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd, outlined Honda’s ambitions in the Championship this year: “We achieved four victories and captured the Manufacturers’ title in 2103 that was our first year of full-participation in WTCC. In the upcoming season we will strive to win the double title for Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ fielding a total of four cars run by three teams.”
Under the banner of the ‘Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team’, Honda will enter two works cars, driven by Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro and run by J.A.S. Motorsport. Private outfits Zengö Motorsport and Proteam Racing will also compete with one car each, driven by Hungary’s Norbert Michelisz and Morocco’s Mehdi Bennani respectively.
VALENTE: AN IMPORTANT YEAR FOR ME
In 2013 Hugo Valente, a 21-year old from the Parisian region, competed in eight of the WTCC rounds at the wheel of a Campos Racing SEAT León.
Despite his young age and a limited racing experience, on different occasions Valente showed an impressive pace and scored his first championship points in Argentina. He also went close to the Yokohama Trophy podium a couple of times.
“It was a great experience competing against top class drivers who have been racing in touring cars for many years. It was very challenging and sometimes we were able to get some positive results. I struggled with the new tyres at the beginning, I had not much testing before the season and doing only half the championship was a big challenge, as the others had much more time in the car than I had. However the team helped me to understand my weak points, we worked hard together and we saw some improvements towards the end of the championship.”
LADA DRIVERS SPEAK OF SPORTING RULES
LADA Sport Lukoil drivers, James Thompson, Rob Huff and Mikhail Kozlovskiy commented on the changes to the sporting regulations for the 2014 WTCC.
The rolling start for Race 1 has been dropped and both races will have a standing start.
Thompson: “I was never a fan of the rolling start for a couple of reasons. The close proximity to the car in front at the start means you can seldom see the lights change. If you aren’t on the first row of the grid, you have to predict the start from the cars around you. This has the added danger of bunching the field more closely as it arrives at the first corner.”
JORDI ORIOLA AIMS FOR ASIAN RACES
Jordi Oriola, Pepe’s younger brother, aims for taking part in selected events of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The 18-year old Spaniard, who finished third in the Single-Make Trophy of the 2013 FIA European Touring Car Cup, will focus this year on the new SEAT Eurocup. However he also tatgets to compete in the WTCC Asian race meetings – at Suzuka, Shanghai and Macau – at the wheel of a SEAT León car run by Campos Racing.
Should this happen, Jordi Oriola would become the second youngest driver ever to race in WTCC, second only to his brother Pepe.
“I hope we can raise the necessary budget to participate in the Asian events of WTCC, as this would fulfill my dream of racing in a World Championship,” Jordi Oriola said.
ROB HUFF TO RACE DOWN UNDER
Rob Huff’s round-the-world tour in endurance races continues this week with the former WTCC champion taking part in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours on Australia’s spectacular Mount Panorama circuit.
After winning the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill in the USA and claiming podium results at the 24 hour races in Dubai and Dayton, Huff shares the Oakley Motorsports-Rotek Racing Audi R8 LMS with Oliver Gavin, Kevin Gleason and Richard Meins.
Huff and his team-mates set the second fastest lap in the class during yesterday’s practice.