For months, rumors have been floating around of a new manufacturer coming into Red Bull Global Rallycross in 2016. The scuttlebutt encompassed everything from Mini returning, to Chevy entering full time, and Honda designing a brand new Fit exclusively for the series.
This week we found out that last rumor hit squarely in the 9 ring, just off the bullseye. During their New York Auto Show press conference, Honda revealed a newly designed GRC Supercar for the 2016 season. Not a Fit, but a rallycross version of its new for 2016 Civic Coupe.
A coupe is an unusual thing to see in rallycross. The two door profile typically makes a car slightly larger than an equivalent hatchback, a disadvantage on the tight tracks of GRC. Don’t think of the new Civic as a giant though, Honda has managed to strike a nice balance on the car’s dimensions.
Covering a similar footprint to the Beetle that won last year’s championship, the car comes at just the right time. Rallycross has been slowly moving away from subcompacts for the past few years, first with the Subaru STi and VW Beetle and more recently with the Ford Focus RS. The Civic Supercar should find itself in the perfect position to win heat races.
Visually, we see a mashup of the old Dodge Dart in the front and a flattened version of the Hyundai Veloster’s tail out back. The combination makes for a good looking car and the Red Bull livery makes it even better. But we have to wonder how rear visibility will be on race day, the view looks tight from all angles.
But, keep in mind that this is a pre-production mockup, so some details may change after the car starts formal testing next month. Details such as those wheels.
Yeah those definitely aren’t final…
Designed in Sweden by championship winning rallycross design house Olsbergs MSE with technical input from American-based Honda Performance Development, the brand new Civic ticks all the expected boxes for a GRC supercar; power output north of 600HP, 0-60 clocked at under 2 seconds, and one of the biggest turbos in motorsports.
The new Civic is set to be fast, especially so when paired with an all-star pair of drivers. The 2014 GRC champion Joni Wiman and 2015 championship runner up Sebastian Eriksson will be piloting the new car this year.
Team Honda will make its racing debut this May at the opening GRC round in Phoenix and will be raced exclusively by OSME in the US for its first year. The cooperation of two storied brands in rallycross is sure to impress, and we can’t wait to see it making 70 foot jumps later this year.