Honda Racing Team JAS completed all six races over three rounds, and ended their 2012 season of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) on the podium with a third place in the season finale in Macau. Honda announced its participation in the championship in February and the team began tests on circuits in July. The Civic WTCC then made its debut in Suzuka in October after a short preparation time. This was an exceptionally short period to introduce a new engine, but the car was developed through five circuit tests and ran races in Suzuka, Shangha and Macao without any problems.
The team had a very important purpose in taking part in the WTCC in 2012; to gain experience through actual WTCC races in order to fight for the title in 2013, when they will run two cars throughout the season’s races as a works team. During the 2012 season, everything was a first for the team; the car settings, free practice, qualifying, plotting strategies during races and team operations. It was also important for them to know how strong their rivals were. Being able to perform these tasks and to improve their results as they accumulate experience, the team has developed confidence for the 2013 season as well as realising that there still are various issues to be solved.
The 2013 season is scheduled to kick off at the end of March, and Honda Racing Team JAS will appear in every race of the season as a works team with two cars driven by Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro. In preparation for the season, a test which will focus on engine settings will be run in January, and in February, the team will be finalising the 2013 car and starting tests to simulate actual races. Then a final test will be done in March before the season gets underway.
Honda Racing Team JAS has been proceeding with preparations for the coming 2013 season with an aim of fighting for top positions in races and for the title throughout the season.
―Looking back at the 2012 season “We evolved every time. Coming to Suzuka with a brand new car, we discovered a lot and in the end, we got our first points. It was a very difficult event because we were just in a learning process. After that, we went to Shanghai. We were far back in the classification, but we learned a lot from the races again. In Macau, we were quite strong from the beginning and the car adapted quite well to the difficult conditions. Every little step made the car faster and stronger, and it has made a big evolution.”
―Looking at the 2013 season “Of course we want to fight for the championship. Now we have a lot of information we have learned but we still have a lot of work to do during winter. Tests this winter will be very important in order to make the Civic WTCC even better because our rivals will still be strong next year. So, we will have to be faster and stronger.”
―Looking at the 2013 season “I think that close season tests before the season starts in March will be very important. Achieving good results during this period could be critical for the fights in the season. And the first race in March will also be very important for Honda. I expect many things will happen during the season, but if the whole team makes an effort and everything goes well, it will be possible for us to win the title. I will do my best to achieve that.”
―Looking back at the 2012 season “Although it was a short time for preparation, we achieved our objectives one by one. The first one was to gain experience and we were able to finish all six races. The next target was to get points and we achieved that in our first race. We also had an objective to stay as close as possible to the Chevrolets and accomplished that goal in the final round, so we achieved better results than we expected.”
―Looking at the 2013 season “When I said to everybody that my target was to win in the first race in 2013 in my first interview, some people said it was too ambitious. However, it is still my goal today to finish the first race of 2013 at the top. If we look back at the situation in 2012 and our results in the final round, I think it is more possible than before. So, we’ll do our best in the tests during the close season to achieve the goal.”
―Looking back at the 2012 season “If I look back at the 2012 season, the development time was very short. We didn’t start the engine for the first time until just before a test in July and the car actually ran for the first time in the test at the end of July (on the 31st of July and 1st of August at Vallelunga). Thinking of this, I think it’s a great achievement that our speed has reached the level where we can compete with top runners. So, I am glad that we’ve come so far.” “I also think that we acquired valuable experience in the last three rounds of the season we took part in. We wouldn’t have gained that if it hadn’t been in actual races. We were able to confirm our direction in car settings and improve them according to such a direction, and aspects such as car balance and engine drivability got better and better every session. I believe that the result of this culminated in our performance in the final round in Macau. I was happy when we fulfilled one of our goals by achieving the speeds with which we were able to go toe-to-toe with the Chevrolets.”
―Looking at the 2013 season “In the WTCC the regulations are very strict, so from the viewpoint of developing cars, it is a difficult category. Regarding engines, we cannot significantly increase the power due to the use of restrictors and restricted maximum rotations, but an accumulation of detailed settings such as pursuit of combustion efficiency and improvements in the feel of the ALS (anti-lag system) of the turbo can make a big difference. The same goes for the chassis and the degree of completion of settings will make a difference in a race times.” “We plan to have around three close season tests at New Year. I expect a lot from Gabriele Tarquini. I have found out during tests that his setting abilities are of very high level. I also think that he and Tiago will make a good combination. I am sure that Gabriele will show performance which meets our expectations in races when the season begins.”