Just because Honda’s halted production of the last NSX doesn’t mean its endeavours in Japan’s Super GT championship is about to end. Instead, the big H will go racing with a brand-new racer based on its all-new Honda Civic Type-R FL5.
The all-new machine was unveiled earlier today at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2022 and was painted in the signature red, navy blue and white of its Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) division, the guys that take Honda’s racing.
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Switching to a new platform wasn’t solely due to the discontinuation of the NSX. Honda explained that the carmaker was keen to adapt a base model with its famed Type-R nomenclature for racing too boost branding for its current portfolio of road cars.
Nonetheless, 2024 will also see the new Class One regulations implemented, marking the first major change in rules since 2020. Hence, coinciding the introduction of a new racing platform makes sense.
Furthermore, this also marks the first time a GT500 machine will be based on a four-door sedan model.
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The new rules to be implemented in 2023 but the pandemic led to a one-year freeze.
Class One regulations were meant to be a unification of Super GT and Germany’s DTM series to allow more cross-competition between the premier touring car series but the latter has since shifted to GT3 rules in a cost-cutting move as Class One proved to be costly for teams.
However, Super GT has stated that DTM’s move away from Class One leaves more room for freedom among the Japanese teams to do things its own way in Super GT that has blessed us with some zany machines.
Keeping with the rulebook, the GT500 variant of the Civic Type-R will sport a rear-wheel drive layout as opposed to the front-wheel drive road-going car.
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This wouldn’t be the first time Honda has completely altered the drive-type having set the precedence by relocating the engine from the behind the driver to the front for its outgoing NSX-GT in 2020. Class One states that all race cars must be front-engined, rear-wheel drive.
The new Civic Type-R GT500 machine is expected to begin initial testing on track around June 2023.
Honda’s move to the new platform may also be the only new car by a manufacturer in the series as Nissan is expected to continue with the Fairlady Z while Toyota is still on the fence regarding its GR Supra following a less-than-stellar 2022 season.
2023 will be the swansong for the current NSX-GT with the new Type-S bodywork before the Civic Type-R takes over in 2024. Prior to the outgoing NSX, Honda’s Super GT entrant was based on the concept HSV-010 that was meant to be the “new” NSX but was discontinued at the last minute.
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Nonetheless, the Super GT association made some leeway for the concept to be transformed into a racecar. Honda’s last victory in Super GT came in 2020 and HRC will be hoping the new machine will return the trophy to their arms in 2024.