After four rounds of the FIA WTCC, the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team is riding high, and with good reason. On the Italian circuit of Monza, the team got off to a flying start with former champion Gabriele Tarquini clinching a stunning 3rd place. On the Moroccan streets for rounds two, the Italian went one better, securing pole and then bringing home his Civic in 2nd position. And then there was Slovakia.
The FIA WTCC remains in Europe in May, with Austria coming up this weekend, and race fans visiting the paddock will no doubt notice the Honda Fan Zone; a celebration of the world of Honda and Honda racing.
"The Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team's entry into the WTCC is a unique chance for Honda to showcase many exciting aspects of the company, and especially its involvement with motorsport", explained William De Braekeleer, Motorsport Manager at Honda Motor Europe. "That's why we've created a Honda Fan Zone for the European weekends of the 2013 WTCC. Through unique content and archive footage including an impressive touchscreen display - we want to share our challenging spirit and sporting heritage with the fans."
Racing has always been an important part of Honda's DNA. Indeed, the well known quote of founder Soichiro Honda that "without racing, there is no Honda" is, in many ways, more relevant in 2013 than ever before. This year Honda is now present in more than 100 racing series.
There's of course the FIA World Touring Car Championship and the American IndyCar Series, but Honda is also active in, the Japanese Super GT Series and Super Formula Championship, the FIA World Endurance Championship, ALMS, the FIA European Rally Championship and the British Touring Car Championship. The same applies to motorbikes too, with Honda competing in Moto GP, Moto 2, Moto 3, Endurance World Championship, Dakar, WSB, WSS and the FIM World Motocross, World Trial and Supercross championships, to name just a few.
Visitors to the Honda Fan Zone have the opportunity to see up close both modern and classic car engines from the world of Honda motorsport, including: the HR-412E Civic 1.6 Turbo engine, powering the Civic WTCC of Gabriele Tarquini, Tiago Monteiro and Norbert Michelisz; and the successful Civic 2.0i-VTEC Type R engine, used to such great effect in rallies around the world, as well as equipping over 400 CN2 prototypes.
Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959 and this plays a prominent role in the Honda Fan Zone too. For example the 1990's Honda NR750 engine, a direct descendent of the NR500 Grand Prix bike of the 1980's, is on display, as is the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, introduced in 2012, and the Honda CRF450R, the high-performance yet user-friendly motocross racer.
"Free to anyone with a ticket to the paddock, the Honda Fan Zone offers an opportunity for people to get closer than ever to the world of Honda," continues De Braekeleer. "In addition to the motorsport exhibits, for those who've never experienced the thrill of riding on a Honda motorbike, we've installed a simulator in the enclosure for people to enjoy. And of course, there is an opportunity to meet Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro as well, fresh from the race. The Honda Fan Zone is also a chance to experience the world of Honda outside of racing too, with displays exploring a number of cutting edge Honda innovations from ASIMO, our humanoid robot, to the Honda Jet."
After attracting huge crowds in Monza, the Slovakia Ring and Hungaroring, the Honda Fan Zone will once again be open to all WTCC fans attending the Salzburgring and the street circuit of Boavista in Porto.
Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team