Honda announced Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro as the drivers for its first campaign in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The pair will be at the wheel of the new Civic WTCC cars run by Honda Racing Team JAS in 2013.
JAS Motorsport are currently developing the European Honda Civic 5-door racing car, whilst Honda R&D has designed and built a new 1.6 litre 4 cylinder direct injection turbo-charged petrol engine at its research and development centre in Tochigi.
As part of its development programme, Honda will enter one car for Monteiro in the three final events of the 2012 WTCC, at Suzuka, Shanghai and Macau. Honda R&D and Mugen will provide trackside support to the team as the new engine makes its racing debut.
2009 World Touring Car champion Tarquini will also assist the works team on the car’s development this year.
Hideo Sato, General Manager of Honda Motorsport Division in Japan, commented: “We are delighted to have Gabriele back with us and excited to welcome Tiago into the Honda racing family for the first time. Both are former Formula One drivers and have also proven time and again that they belong in the absolute top echelon of world touring car drivers. We are convinced that both drivers will contribute to the success of the Honda Civic in the FIA WTCC. I’d also like to express a special gratitude to the FIA and Eurosport Events, who have both been instrumental in making our entry in the WTCC possible from this year onwards.”
Olivier Fisch, Managing Director of Eurosport Events said: “We are very pleased to welcome Honda in WTCC, and today we wish to congratulate them for their choice of drivers. Tarquini and Monteiro are among the best touring car racers worldwide and with them on board the programme kicks off in style. They bring the expertise and performance needed to aim for top results.”