The new 2012 Honda Civic WTCC has officially entered its final development stages as the Japanese carmaker presented the final exterior and began track testing of its FIA World Touring Car Championship racecar at the Vallelunga circuit, near Rome, Italy, following the car's ‘shakedown' on July 27 at the Vairano circuit near the J.A.S. Motorsport factory in Milan.
The Japanese carmaker's WTCC contender is based on the European market Civic hatchback and features a special aero package with an extended front and rear skirt and other additional aerodynamic elements such as the large rear wing.
But what makes this Civic really stand out from its production brethren is the bespoke 1.6-liter 4 cylinder direct injection turbocharged HR-412E petrol engine.
Honda has not released output numbers nor did it say if it has any plans to offer a turbocharged engine on its production models in the near future.
However, during the presentation of the turbocharged unit last week, Daisuke Horiuchi, WTCC Development Project Leader at Honda R&D said that, "We believe the innovations that have led to this revolutionary engine will also lead to benefits beyond the race track, helping us to further increase the efficiency of our road car engines."
Back to the racing model, Honda noted that testing would continue throughout the year with 2009 WTCC champion Gabriele Tarquini sitting behind the wheel.
"Although I'd never driven the new Civic before, funnily, when I sat in the seat for the first time I immediately felt I was in a Honda," said Tarquini.
"The body work is precise and the engine feels great. But this is just the first track test, so there is so much more for us to work on. The car looks beautiful too and will, I'm sure, wow all the WTCC fans around the world when it makes its debut in Suzuka later this year," he added.
Beginning at Suzuka in October this year, Honda will enter three races of the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship with one car, driven by Tiago Monteiro, as it prepares for full entry in 2013.