Today during a press conference in Tokyo, Honda announced they will join the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Tokyo (3rd February 2012).- Honda CEO Takanobu Ito explained: "We took the decision to enter in the WTCC with the European Civic. We will develop a totally new engine for this project and we are all excited about starting this new challenge."
For this project, Honda formed a joint partnership with Mugen and J.A.S. Motorsport. Mugen will manufacture a 1.6-litre turbo bespoke racing engine developed by Honda R&D and will maintain it at the races along with the team. J.A.S. Motorsport will develop the race car, using the new Honda Civic 5-door produced in Honda's manufacturing plant located in Swindon, UK.
Honda's ambition is to join the WTCC as early as this season, with a string of "inaugural rounds". Discussions are currently being held with the FIA, but these rounds would include Japan (on 21 October at Suzuka), China and Macau. Honda will then enter a two-car team, managed by J.A.S. Motorsport, in the full 2013 championship season.
Honda's commitment in motor sport dates back to Fifties (Isle of Man's Tourist Trophy) and the Sixties (F1) and resulted several successes that include five F1 world titles in both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' championships.
Honda press release also reads: "The FIA WTCC is the next chapter in Honda's on-going commitment to world motor sport and provides a perfect platform to demonstrate its racing spirit to Honda's numerous fans around the world."
Olivier Fisch, Managing Director of Eurosport Events commented: "We are very pleased to welcome Honda in WTCC. Their commitment is a great reward for the huge, joint effort the FIA and Eurosport Events have done all these years to make the championship growing and become popular worldwide. We wish Honda to be successful in this new racing programme."