Watch This Civic Type R Transform Into TCR Racer at J.A.S. Motorsport
Honda pulls back the veil of secrecy on how the Civic Type R TCR is built.
Honda Pro Racing has pumped out a trio of videos documenting the Civic Type R’s journey from a fresh car off the production line, to putting down hot laps fresh out of the pit lane after J.A.S Motorsports makes them into a TCR racer. Alistair Weaver showcases in this three-part series a behind-the-scenes look that you may have never seen before.
To start things off, we land in Swindon, England, where all Civic Type R models will be built. It is a specialty production plant, with no other model of Civic coming off the production line except the Type R.
Phil Haydon, Manufacturing Operations Manager for Honda UK notes how the Type R isn’t just a Civic with a powerful motor. “The body construction method is different. We use what’s called inner-frame construction. The Type R differs from the base model in that it has a much higher quantity of structural bonding. That gives it much greater rigidity in the Type R body. The benefit to that will stop the body flexing during cornering and it also allows the suspension to work properly.”
J.A.S. Motorsports takes the reigns from here. All non-essential items for racing are stripped out of the car, and of course safety items are added as top priority. It is essentially stripped down to bare metal, but a lot of the OEM components will end up back on the car.
The added rigidity from the production line sure does help on track, but that stiffness allows the upgraded suspension to better perform its job. As well the brakes are upgraded too; a modification which will make itself known in part 3.
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But of all things, the engine essentially remains un-touched. It’s re-tuned to run more aggressively, but it’s mostly the same thing you’ll find in your own Type R.
J.A.S. Motorsport has hired hot shoe Norbert Michelisz to be the main development driver for the TRC racer. Michelisz, also a team owner, says of the TCR; “I really like the concept. I think TCR can be the future of touring car racing.” And he’s right. Rules allow a wide variety of cars with close competition based more closely to the cars you and I can buy compared to the GT monsters we see elsewhere.
But on track is where the talk stops, and the stopwatch doesn’t lie. Weaver has been given a unique opportunity to drive a completed TCR Type R, and is somewhat nervous. “This is Honda’s only test car, so I’m under strict instructions. Build confidence; don’t crash.”
He took Honda’s advice to heart and after a thrilling set of hot-laps, came in for a de-brief of the experience. Weaver reflects; “The thing that I was struggling with that takes time is the brakes, because the brakes are so different to a race car. Very very firm pedal. When you’re not used to them and when they haven’t got temperature in them it’s difficult to modulate.”
TCR is a worldwide accepted class, and for those of us state-side we’ll be able to cheer on the boys at RealTime Racing as they compete in the TCR class of the Pirelli World Challenge.