Honda has revealed the all-new engine that will power its new Civic race car in the World Touring Car Championships. The new mill, codenamed HR412E, is a 1.6-liter inline-four with turbocharging and direct injection.Most important, the race engine could pave the way for a new turbocharged Honda Civic Type-R.
Honda won't say how much power the new engine makes, so as to keep the car's performance a secret from potential competitors. The car will be used in the 2013 World Touring Car Championship, and already has passed Honda's testing regimen in Italy.
The reason this engine is so interesting is that it could have street-car applications. WTCC race cars must be based on production models, and Honda notes that lessons learned from developing this race engine could trickle down to regular cars. "We believe the innovations that have led to this revolutionary engine will also lead to benefits beyond the race track, helping us to further increase the efficiency of our road car engines," the company said in a statement.
With that in mind, this race engine could serve as a test bed for a new street car, and the most likely candidate for a tamer version of the 1.6-liter turbo-four is the next European-market Honda Civic Type-R. The new car has reportedly been approved for production and should be confirmed publicly this fall. Honda is expected to show a concept version of the Type-R in spring 2013 before putting the car on sale in early 2014. The old Civic Type-R was killed off because its high-strung 2.0-liter engine didn't meet stricter emissions standards. A smaller, turbocharged four-cylinder might allow Honda to produce Type-R-worthy power levels while still satisfying tough fuel-economy regulations.