Nestor Girolami provides first insights of new Honda
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series race winner Nestor Girolami has revealed his first impressions of the new JAS Motorsport developed Honda Civic Type R TCR based on the current FL5 model.
The Argentinian ace made a successful cameo appearance at Sandown during the inaugural TCR Australia season where Girolami took a clean-sweep of victories in a FK7 model Honda Civic Type R TCR and his been charged with the early testing of the newest generation.
Girolami provided his insight on how the new model drives.
“It’s quite a bit easier to drive on the limit than the old car,” said Girolami.
“It’s smoother all-round and you don’t have to fight as much to get a really fantastic lap. Drivers who are new to TCR should find it quite a bit easier to find the limit, but the best drivers should still be able to make a key difference.
“The old Honda was very good in medium-speed corners like you get at the Hungaroring, but on the new car the wheelbase is longer, so the handling is much improved in higher-speed corners and the stability is better under braking.
“Because the steering has been modified quite significantly, it’s more reactive on turn-in too, so you get the best of both worlds. Because the wheel is open at the top, you can’t cross your hands over in a really tight corner like the Melco hairpin at Macau, so the new steering system is a big help.”
Further to the handling improvements, interior ergonomics have also been improved according to Girolami.
“The first big difference was the cockpit,” Girolami explained.
“You feel much more comfortable with the seating position, which is adjustable like in a GT3 car, and the level of technology at your fingertips feels two steps ahead of the car I’ve been racing for the past few seasons.
“You sit closer to the centre of the car and lower too so it’s better for the weight distribution and because you sit lower, you feel what the car is doing through your body much more than in the old car.”
Summarising the test, Girolami described the first two days of testing at the Italian Cervesina facility a success.
“Just two days at Cervesina, but it’s felt very promising,” he emphasised.
“The engine ran strongly with no reliability issues and the car feels two steps forwards in every area. It’s a brand-new car and we still have a lot of work to do with the testing programme before it races, but it’s been a very encouraging start.
“The target is to make this car the global leader in TCR competition in 2023 and I feel very proud to have been chosen for these first tests by JAS Motorsport as we all work together to help their customer teams achieve this.”
Honda’s new generation TCR model is the latest set to join the global touring car class following the Audi RS3 LMS TCR and Hyundai Elantra N TCR in 2021 in addition to the Toyota Corolla GRS TCR set for full homologation in mid-2023.