FLYING START FOR NEW HONDA AT NURBURGRING 24 HOURS The newly-developed circuit version of the Honda Civic Type R R3, developed by Honda's long-time competition partner, JAS Motorsport in Italy, has started its racing career with success at the...
FLYING START FOR NEW HONDA AT NURBURGRING 24 HOURS
The newly-developed circuit version of the Honda Civic Type R R3, developed by Honda's long-time competition partner, JAS Motorsport in Italy, has started its racing career with success at the demanding Nurburgring 24 Hours in Germany.
The new Civic finished third in its class (SP3) and 43rd overall on its debut, with a driver line up of Oluf Bendixen, Cyril Kalbassi and Fabian Ottmann. The car was entered by Team Honda Challenge, an outfit created and run by employees of Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH during in their spare time.
Thanks to the experience gained by JAS Motorsport in developing the Honda Civic Type R R3 rally car, there were no major mechanical problems throughout the event, held on what is arguably the most challenging race circuit in the world. The Mugen-tuned Honda i-VTEC engine that powered the car also performed faultlessly during the 24 Hours.
Patrik Ponec, team manager for Team Honda Challenge, commented: "I'm delighted that the drivers enjoyed driving the car, and we're all very pleased by its perfect reliability, despite the fact that it is brand new. We literally built the car, shook it down during a VLN race and then entered the 24 hour race, it is an astonishing achievement to finish the world's toughest endurance race with so little time to prepare. Many congratulations to JAS Motorsport and Mugen on another excellent product and one with such potential for future success.."
In total, Honda came away from the legendary Nordschleife with four class victories (in SP3, SP4, tv14-Civic Cup, and N1-2). The first Honda home was the Mader Honda S2000 in 19th overall, while no fewer than 25 Hondas took the start, making Honda the third-best represented manufacturer at the race. This popularity, and an impressive collection of results, underlines both the speed and reliability of all the cars, including the new Honda Civic Type R R3.
The Nurburgring 24 Hours, which was run for the 36th time this year, is an institution in the world of motorsport that sees a massive variety of 220 cars and nearly 900 drivers take to the track. As well as a huge contingent of amateur drivers, there are several factory and semi-works teams that use the event as a unique development exercise, watched by over 200,000 spectators.
Alessandro Mariani, the team principal of JAS Motorsport, commented: "I'm very satisfied that the new circuit version of the Civic Type R R3 has got to the end of such a demanding race with no major problems. This confirms that the new R3 rules apply equally well to the race track as the rally stage. I'd like to thank the team and the drivers for this excellent result."
Hiro Toyoda, vice president of MUGEN EURO, stated: " We are all motivated by this fine result, and it has been our privilege to work with such able and enthusiastic partners as Team Honda Challenge and JAS Motorsport. In particular we must admire the three drivers who coped very professionally with the difficult weather conditions during the night. We are looking forward to our continuing collaboration and to further improving on this great performance".
The car proved to be as much of a hit in the paddock as it was on the track, attracting admiring glances with its aggressive styling and purposeful stance. Its looks were more than just skin deep though: the main appeal was its raw speed, enabling Honda to pull off an exceptional hat trick in the SP3 category with the "latest baby" of JAS Motorsport & Mugen finishing just behind two Honda S2000s.