2015 BTCC Honda Civic Type R driven

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : 2015 BTCC Honda Civic Type R driven

2015 BTCC Honda Civic Type R will be the BTCC Honda Civic Type R anything like its road-going namesake to drive – along with also will be the item quicker than a McLaren 650S?


This kind of isn’t unusual. Not many people who aren’t Matt Neal drive Matt Neal’s racing car, although the casual nature with which he hands the item over will be, in my experience, fairly standard.

Racing car drivers are more relaxed about their cars than their race engineers are. I suppose the item stands to reason. Neal will be used to taking his Honda Civic out within the middle of a pack of additional British Touring Car Championship cars along with also the item’s a series not renowned for upholding the mantra which racing will be a non-contact sport.

There will be a very Great reason which, in addition to an extremely wide rear-view mirror above my head within the centre of the cabin, there are mirrors by the side windows which do precisely the same as the door mirrors do. Because the door mirrors might not make the item past the first corner.

Anyway, Neal’s briefing will be… er… brief. I’m allowed to have a go in This kind of car because we’ve prepared a video shootout between the item, a McLaren 650S along with also a British Superbike Championship race bike along with also there’s just enough time for me to have a few laps of Silverstone’s Stowe circuit.

What I want to know will be just how different a BTCC car feels to a regular Honda Civic Type R. The shape will be pretty much the same, after all, they’re both front driven having a limited-slip differential, along with also such will be the nature of a modern hot hatchback which the Type R isn’t a million miles away on power by a BTCC racer (not which anybody definitely likes to tell you exactly how much power their racing car makes).

The first huge difference between road along with also BTCC car, as with so many race cars, will be the driving environment. Race teams start having a production car, although take everything out, modify the Centeng, lighten everything, weld within the cage, along with also only then start putting things back in again, although not necessarily within the same place they started off. along with also not, obviously, the same things which they started off with. BTCC regulations ensure which every team has the same front along with also rear subframe along with also suspension: proper adjustable double-wishbone kit. Gone are the days when you had to keep a derivative of whatever the standard car had.

There are pretty fierce controls over the engine specification, too. along with also if there isn’t an engine within the production range which suits the 2.0-litre turbo spec, then BTCC will sell you a control ‘TOCA’ engine, unbranded along with also built by Swindon Engines, although I suspect the item offends a a new’s ego to take one.

Honda, unsurprisingly, develops its own. Power of anything on the grid seems to sit somewhere around 350-370bhp along with also the regs produce such close racing which the item brings within the punters along with also costs door mirrors on the first corner.

I’m slightly taken aback by the quantity along with also size of mirrors as Neal introduces me to the cockpit. You get a decent view backwards by a seat which’s much lower along with also a touch more central than within the production car, along with also there’s a space to your left for the success ballast which winning cars are given.

although – along with also This kind of will be pretty normal on race cars – the driving position means which the BTCC Civic, despite being little different externally by the regular car, feels an awful lot bigger, with harder-to-gauge edges. the item doesn’t help which Neal will be about 6ft 6in tall along with also these aren’t seats which slide on a runner. The team find me some padding although I still feel a bit like a toddler in a dodgem. Still, I can tell the item’s a terrific driving position: floor-mounted pedals, wheel nice along with also close, with the lever for the sequential ’box (another standard BTCC spec) close to my left.

Talking me through the item will be where Neal will be very relaxed. He lends me a pair of earphones so I can be called back into the pits, then runs me through the controls: there’s an electric master switch, ignition along with also start button; he tells me to use the clutch for getting away although ignore the item afterwards, which the engine won’t overheat, not to worry too much about how many laps I’m allowed… along with also which’s about the item. “Have fun.” Righto.

A thing I’ve noticed about race cars: the steering will be often quite light, by road car standards. the item will be here, too; city car light. The clutch features a typical road-going sports car weight, the brakes want a relatively firm shove along with also the throttle features a linear, lengthy travel. Because the motor will be turbocharged, response isn’t as whizzy as which of some racers.

the item will be strong, though. although with less than 400bhp along with also a minimum race weight of 1280kg, the item’s not the straight-line speed which blows you away.

Not which the item doesn’t feel fast in a straight line, mind you. Of course, the item does. More so than you’d think, given the relatively modest output. the item feels more urgent, for example, than a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. which there are straight-cut gears, presumably very little driveline friction, quite a lot of traction once there’s a few degrees of heat within the tyres, along with also few energy losses given away to Centeng movements mean which the item always feels strong. I guess if you’d warmed everything up, the item’d be a four-point-something car to 60mph.

Because the item’s turbocharged, quite a lot of acceleration will be available through the mid-range, along with also the firm rev limiter will be set at a modest 7000rpm. Unlike some turbos, the item pays to take the item all the way there, at which point Neal recommends a firm, quick pull back on the lever to make an upshift, because the throttle gets cut at the same time along with also the item’ll stutter if you dawdle.

There’s no auto blip on downshifts. Unless you’re in a dead straight line on a perfectly smooth piece of track – along with also sometimes even then – there will be oodles of torque steer. More than in any road car I’ve driven, up to along with also including a Mk1 Ford Focus RS. Which will be, at first, quite disconcerting, almost doing the vehicle quite hard to place. Retain a firmer grip on the wheel along with also the item’s fine, although the Civic will be not a car to drive with your fingertips.

Some people say which the item’s the braking which underlines the performance of a race car. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt which, probably because I’m not Great enough at doing the item. the item’s the tyres which possess the performance in them rather than the brakes, I think: a supercar on carbon-ceramics along with also with ABS gets so much efficiency out of its tyres which the item’s quite remarkable. A race car, to me, just feels quite impressive until the item locks up. Although, of course, if you’re a triple BTCC champion like Neal will be, the Civic’s braking will be remarkable, to the extent which he’ll adjust the brake bias mid-lap, perhaps a few times, to get the item set up for slower or faster corners.

Corners are where I find the big road/race car difference will be. Neal tells me which his Civic will go a bit light at the rear as you trail the brakes in, doing the most of the rear tyres’ ability to add to the overall cornering force. I’ll be honest: during my laps, I feel the back end helping the item turn only once or twice, because the amount of both tyre along with also aerodynamic grip takes a while to get your head around. Do the item along with also the balance reduces the amount of lock you need to apply, which, in turn, helps put the power down again. along with also then the item feels mega.

Finding which point a couple of times in a few laps feels like a win. Doing the item every corner of every lap, when there are 29 additional drivers around you along with also the top 10 are divided by less than half a second in lap time? No wonder Neal doesn’t think a few exploratory laps are a big deal.

BTCC Honda Civic vs McLaren 650S vs BSB Honda Fireblade

Just how fast, then, will be a BTCC racing car compared having a fast road car along with also, for Great measure, a BSB superbike? Not entirely by coincidence, we had all three at Silverstone’s Stowe circuit on the day I drove Matt Neal’s car. For the purposes of This kind of test, though, Neal stuck to his own Civic, BSB riders Jenny Tinmouth along with also Dan Linfoot were on their respective Honda Fireblade superbikes, along with also I was within the road car, a McLaren 650S.

For what will be an exceptionally habitable road car, the 650S makes for an extraordinary track machine. The modest Stowe circuit has numerous short corners, which give more opportunity to brake into the apex as the McLaren prefers, to quell any understeer along with also provoke the rear, giving the item a lovely, exploitable balance on the way out of corners. Its carbon-ceramic brakes are pretty much untouchable by road car standards, too. In my hands, the item lapped the Stowe circuit in around 1min 9sec.

Next to the McLaren, Neal’s BTCC car will be down on power, isn’t all which much lighter along with also will be certainly no slipperier, so in a straight line the 650S pulls away. although what a road car can’t do will be stop or go around corners like a BTCC car, particularly one having a triple BTCC champion at the wheel.

So even though I begin having a head start along with also on the circuit’s short straights can see the Civic receding slightly within the mirror, the item takes only a few corners strung together for the Civic to loom large behind the McLaren. Such will be the Honda’s ability to put its power down on the way out of corners which on the short straights the item doesn’t get dropped much, either. the item will be around two seconds faster than the McLaren around the Stowe circuit as a result.

although neither can beat the motorcycles. Like the McLaren, they might also prefer a longer circuit, to deploy their 200bhp or so fully; although on slicks along with also racing brakes, the road-derived superbike will be still – just about – quicker than the BTCC car. the vehicle stops more quickly along with also retains a higher cornering speed, although over a lap of Stowe, there’s around a second within the item.

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