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Chris Smiley pleased with ‘really positive’ transition to new FK8 Honda Civic

BTC Racing’s Chris Smiley says the transition from the previous generation Honda Civic Type R to the new FK8 has been “really positive.”

Smiley, who scored his first British Touring Car Championship win last year at Rockingham, enjoyed success in the older specification Honda Civic but feels he is adapting well to the FK8.

He told TouringCars.Net that on first impression the car isn’t hugely different to drive, but the driving style and car setup needs adjusting.

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“To drive the car initially there’s not a massive change to be honest, it’s just that you have to drive the car in a different way,” explained Smiley.

“And you have to set the car up in a slightly different way, but the actual basics of any front-wheel drive car, the fundamentals stay the same.

“This car’s wheelbase is a little bit longer so you have to adjust your setup slightly to accommodate that.”

Smiley also noted that the switch from Swindon Racing Engines unit to the Neil Brown Engineering-prepared Honda Engine is the largest factor to adapt to on the car apart from the chassis itself.

“The engine is probably the biggest change other than the chassis,” he said.

“It’s looking really really positive so far, this is only our second full day in the car so we’ve still got a little bit to go.

“We’re not out there today showing off or anything so it’s really really positive.”

Speaking after the first test session on Wednesday [27 March], Smiley said the priority was to “get back into the groove” as most teams were not displaying their true pace.

“The car has ran faultlessly, it’s just getting back into the groove again. We’ve been working on a few fine setup changes really,” said Smiley.

“Later on, we’ll probably be doing some qualifying simulations, and see where we are. This is still testing, this is only the warmup.

“All the teams are still playing all the games today, so you’ll know where you’ll stand this time next Saturday!”

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