The Honda Civic Type R, based on the Honda Art Car by Jean Graton, will make its race debut at the Zandvoort Circuit in the Netherlands, this weekend. The Civic Type R TCR Version previously appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on its public debut. WTCC driver TIago Monteiro will pilot the Civic Type R, alongside Michel Valliamt, on its racing debut in the latest round of the TCR Benelux at the Dutch track over the weekend.
The debut of the Civic Type R coincides with the DTM Round, which runs from 15 – 17 July. “We are very pleased to be giving the Honda Art Car its racing debut at Zandvoort,” Jean-Louis Dauger, Director of Development at Jean Graton Foundation, said.
A TCR version of the Civic Type R has been entered by the Foundation into the latest round of TCR Benelux; ran by Boutsen Ginion Racing. The Civic TCR is piloted by factory Honda WTCC driver Monteiro, who won twice at the series’ opening round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
In deference to Jean Graton’s most famous creation, motor racing graphic comic book hero Michel Vaillant, the car will carry the number 13 synonymous with the fictional racer during the past five decades. “Michel Vaillant has had many incredible successes throughout his racing career and we’re aiming to add to that list this weekend. I will have an exceptional co-driver in Tiago Monteiro, one of the best drivers in touring car racing, and a great team in Boutsen-Ginion racing preparing the car, so we are aiming high,” Dauger added.
The inspiration for the Honda Art Car was the Michel Vaillant Art Stip, ‘A Fond!’, which depicts him at the wheel of his Formula 1 car in pursuit of a Ferrari through Monaco’s tunnel. The car, in WTCC specification, appeared at the Festival of Speed as part of the WTCC’s Art Car Contest last month. The spectacular design proved incredibly popular with fans, who voted it as their favorite design of the contest.
The Zandvoort #event will be fans’ first opportunity to see the design dynamically with three races held over two days and the opening-race grid decided by fans’ votes.
Monteiro commented, “It’s really cool to be asked to drive the Honda Art Car at Zandvoort. The car looks absolutely stunning and I’m sure we can have a strong result too. I already have experience of TCR Benelux after racing, and winning, at Spa-Francorchamps in May and I’m looking forward to having another go.”
“The cars are fun to drive and I really like some of the elements of the weekend such as the fan vote for pole position, so don’t forget to vote for us! Zandvoort is a fantastic circuit with so much motorsport history, and it’s where I made my World Touring Car debut in 2007 too, so I have good memories of the place,” he added.