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Honda debut at ‘important’ Suzuka event

Honda will this weekend make their debut in the World Touring Car Championship as an official works team for the first time, as Tiago Monteiro takes to the Suzuka track for the debut of the Honda Civic Super 2000 TC.

Honda announced their entry into the WTCC back in February and this weekend marks the first race-weekend appearance of the brand-new JAS Motorsport-prepared Civic. The event is particularly significant for Honda as this weekend marks not only the 50th anniversary of the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit but also the 40th anniversary of the Civic.

“The entire team has been preparing for Suzuka ever since we announced our entry into the WTCC in February,” said Daisuke Horiuchi. “It has obviously been a huge challenge, but we’re here and we’re ready.

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“Part of the drive to get the car and team ready for these last three races of the 2012 WTCC calendar is that this race in Suzuka is so important to Honda. In 1962 our visionary founder Soichiro Honda designed this circuit – the very first racing circuit in Asia – so we were very motivated to make it here and be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary with our many fans and associates around the World.

“2012 is also the 40th anniversary of the Civic, so we couldn’t think of a better way to mark this important milestone than to see the latest European Civic compete at the highest level in the WTCC.”

The team have been busy subjecting the new Civic to numerous tests over the summer, and Portugese racer Tiago Monteiro takes the wheel of the Civic this weekend, having raced at the wheel of a Sunred-powered SEAT León for the season so far.

“After testing in Vallelunga, Slovakia Ring and Portimao this summer, as well as at Sugo last week, my motivation has never been higher,” said Monteiro. “And now that we are only a few hours from the start of the event, I can feel the passion and excitement of the Honda fans building up.

“When you think about the amount of work that everyone at Honda and JAS has put in to get us here, I fully appreciate what a privilege it is to be the one behind the wheel. . . it is a very special moment, it really is!”

It is not the first time Honda’s have appeared in the WTCC, although it is the first time as an official works entry. Long-time Honda partner JAS Motorsport campaigned Honda Accord’s in the 2005 and 2006 season with limited success, whilst N.Technology and James Thompson took the marques only win to-date in the series in 2008 with a privately-entered Accord.

Honda will be present in all three of the final rounds of the 2012 WTCC at Suzuka, Shanghai and Macau respectively, before stepping up to a full campaign in 2013 with Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini.

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