Honda has had a formidable presence in modern-day touring car racing ever since the 1990’s and the days of the much-loved super touring vehicles, the Japanese brand currently flexing its tin-top muscles in the TCR class with its car based on the road-going Civic FK8 model.
Japan’s finest in front-wheel drive touring car machinery is also available in iRacing to compete against other TCR machinery, and this article will tell you everything you need to know about the vehicle should you be on the fence about giving it a whirl.
Introduction to the Honda Civic TCR
The Honda Civic FK8 TCR is Honda’s second generation of racing car built to TCR regulations following on from its FK2 model, which was one of the founding pillars of the TCR rule set back in 2015.
The FK8 currently competes all over the world in pretty much every TCR-based series you can think of, including the TCR World Tour, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge as well as regional TCR championships such as TCR UK and TCR Australia – though is slowly being phased out in favour of its successor, the FL2 Civic TCR.
Like the other cars built to TCR regulations, the Civic FK8 features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine – with a capacity of two litres in this case – which powers the front wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
The Touring Car Challenge Series
In iRacing the Civic is eligible for two different Touring Car Challenge series’, a fixed setup one contested over 15 minutes which you can read about here – as well as on open setup version run over 30 minutes – while the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, which runs over two hours alongside the faster GT4 class every Saturday and Sunday, is also available.
To make sure you are ready to fight whatever the race distance or track, consider utilising Coach Dave Academy’s extensive setup library for the Civic in order to give you the best possible chance of reaching the podium.
The Basic Car Setup
Despite the FK8 Civic featuring pretty much exactly the same specifications as its fellow TCR brethren, it does possess slightly different characteristics.
The Elantra TCR in iRacing is widely considered to be the easiest of the four-strong contingent within the service due to how compliant it is over bumps or kerbs as well as its general stability, while the Audi RS3 LMS is known as the trickiest due to its tendency to break free when pushed hard.
The Civic sits somewhere in the middle as it features more natural rotation than the Elantra – making it harder to be consistent with across a race distance – but by the same measure could also be more fun to drive depending on what you’re looking for – though it also doesn’t ride kerbs quite as smoothly as the Hyundai.
- This can be helped by softening the rear suspension a tad to make it more compliant over sharp bumps.
- Dialling brake bias to the rear is key to help with tyre wear across a run, ideally start with 60% and work downwards until you’re comfortable.
Need setups for the series?
Our iRacing Setup Subscription allows you to focus purely on your on-track performance. And, with access to our free Coach Dave Delta app, installing them couldn’t be any easier. For the TCRs you get;
- Race setups
- Qualifying setups
- Onboard laps
- Data packs
- All crafted by professionals
Aerodynamics and Bodywork
The TCR class by nature is designed to feature as little aerodynamic assistance as possible in order to help in a financial sense, as well as how easy it is to run the vehicle over a race weekend – having to continuously replace winglets and strakes would get expensive in a form of racing known for a bit of contact every now and again!
The Civic TCR therefore does feature an adjustable splitter and rear wing, though they have more of an influence of how much drag the car produces rather than purely aerodynamic benefit – so lower settings on faster tracks are a must, while tighter tracks will see more of a benefit in higher values due to the increase in stability.
Steering and Cornering
A smooth driving style is important in the Civic – as well as any of the other TCR vehicles – in order to get the most out of it, with an emphasis in making sure the front wheels are happy in order to extract the most lap time.
- Important to make sure rear wheels do as much as possible, use maximum amount of rear brake bias as you can get away with as well as stiffer rear suspension/anti-roll bar to make the rear slide to help the front turn better.
- Smooth steering inputs will help to prevent front tyres being overloaded, which will help with both tyre wear as well as carrying more momentum and thus corner speed on corner exit and through the bend.
Power Delivery and Braking
The Civic TCR doesn’t feature any adjustable electronics at all, so no ABS or TC to help you here – your feet are your friends in this case.
The power delivery isn’t exactly linear either due to the turbocharged engine that produces a stiff 340 bhp, something that can quickly catch you out when paired with the front-wheel drive configuration and worn rubber.
- Getting smoothly on the power is crucial in order to not cause the car to understeer on corner exit, as well as to prevent excessive wheel-spin – which can wear out your tires as well as overheat them.
- Trail-braking can be effective when optimal brake bias setting is achieved, rear wheels can help to rotate car into the apex more effectively – resulting in greater corner speed as well as allowing you to get on the power earlier for a better exit.
- Make sure to unwind the steering lock as early as possible on corner exit to help improve traction and fend off potential wheel-spin.
The Honda Civic FK8 TCR is certainly an interesting proposition as far as iRacing’s selection of TCR machinery goes, with its looser handling characteristics potentially providing a more fun drive than the likes of the generally favoured Elantra, but depending on the driving style of the pilot maybe a less competitive one.
Should you want to hit the track and become a front-wheel drive master from the moment you turn the virtual key, don’t forget to load up one of Coach Dave Academy’s carefully-built setups for the Civic in order to hit the ground running.