Honda have announced that they will enter the FIA World Touring Car Championship, in partnership with JAS Motorsport.
The new 5-door Honda Civic road car built at Swindon will be the base for the new race car, which will be developed by Italian firm JAS, who have a long-standing relationship with Honda.
Honda R&D is developing a 1.6 litre turbocharged engine, which will be manufactured and maintained by engine partner Mugen.
Honda is aiming to enter rounds this season, which would include the events at the Honda-owned Suzuka, as well as China and Macau. The JAS-run team will then enter a two-car team for the 2013 championship.
Honda have previously been present on the WTCC grid with the Accord Euro R model, also developed by JAS Motorsport. The Italian team entered the series themselves in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, while N.technology ran James Thompson in 2008, winning at Imola.
“We have made a decision to enter into the WTCC with the European Civic,” said Honda CEO Takanobu Ito. “We will develop a totally new engine for this project and we are all excited about starting this new challenge.”
Olivier Fisch, Managing Director of WTCC organiser Eurosport Events, added: “We are very pleased to welcome Honda in WTCC. Their commitment is a great reward for the huge, joint effort the FIA and Eurosport Events have done all these years to make the championship growing and become popular worldwide. We wish Honda to be successful in this new racing programme.”
Honda's commitment comes at a time of renewed interest in the WTCC by manufacturers, with Ford, SEAT and Lada all looking the challenge the recent dominance of Chevrolet.