BTCC Crazy

Honda Civic - Hatchback vs. Tourer

In what was one of the biggest pieces of news to be announced in the off-season, Honda Yuasa Racing confirmed that they would switch from the Civic hatchback to the Tourer for the 2014 season.

With many people sceptical about how the ‘estate’ car would perform, drivers Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal have emerged once again as title contenders – proving that the cream rises to the top. After two drivers and teams championships in the past two years (albeit being one with Andrew Jordan) the Team Dynamics-run team elected to continue their development with Honda and debut the new Tourer model.

Possessing the same wheel base as the hatch does, the Tourer does see more bodywork at the rear of the car, providing overhang and a slower change of direction. That however, isn’t the only difference between the two models of car that both drivers have had adjust to throughout the off-season and first nine races of the season.

Triple champion Neal explained to BTCC Crazy: “The obvious difference besides the chassis is actually the engine we are running in 2014. There are differing characteristics because we are running the VTEC system now and even though we have the same amount of power at the top end, it comes a lot more aggressively.

“Chassis-wise, the strength that we always have had with the Civic was the rear end and making it work. Now we have had a sufficient amount of time in the car, that strength the hatchback had has transferred over to the Tourer now, but we still have a lot of weight there.

Change of direction is a key attribute to the hatchback and Neal admits they are still fighting that behind the wheel of the Tourer: “When the rear starts to get away from you it becomes a bit of a handful behind the wheel. It is what it is though and it’s down to us to ensure it works as well as it can when we are out on track.

After nine races, the Tourer has taken two victories – both from Shedden, with the first at Donington secured in dramatic style. With the Scotsman sitting second in the drivers championship behind Andrew Jordan, Neal is over the moon that Flash has taken the chequered flag twice – believing his time will come soon.

Neal stated: “It was great for Flash to get the first two wins for the car and I was shouting all the way when he took the, my turn will come soon I’m sure.”

The Honda Tourer’s resume racing around the Cheshire circuit of Oulton Park on the International layout for rounds 10, 11 and 12 on June 7/8.

Article originally written on Saturday, 31 May 2014. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.