The Type R is leading Indycars to the rolling start.
Honda has unveiled the new 2023 Honda Civic Type R Pace Car, and its first public outing will be at the NTT Indycar Series race this weekend in Florida. This is the latest in a series of Indycar pace cars from Honda that started in 2006 and the first based on the new Civic Type R.
For Indycar pace car duty, the Type R needed some specific tuning via the Honda Performance Development (HPD) team, including a lengthened wheelbase and widened wheel track as well as retuned dual-axis strut front and multilink rear suspension. That's all to help straight-line stability, and an HPD brake package featuring competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless steel brake lines helps the brakes work harder while not overheating. Topping the pace car off is an exclusive lighting system and specific Honda graphics.
While HPD has tuned the pace car, it's not one of the full-blooded ready-to-race cars Honda makes available, but the division is using some of the parts from the line of available from HPD through the Honda Racing Line program.
The race cars available through the program are the Civic Si TCA race car, then the Civic Type R TC, and finally the uncompromising Civic Type R TCR.
The Honda Racing Line program has been in existence since 2009 and supports Acura race cars as well. On top of access to HPD racing parts, the program includes factory engineer support. As well as touring car racing, the program includes karting, quarter-midget, and open-wheel racing.
The new pace car will debut at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the Florida Gulf Coast this weekend and will lead the field to the green flag, then peel off for the rolling start of the race. The season opens with 27 cars - the largest field for a season opener since 2001.
Two new full-time cars will be racing this year, one from Arrow McLaren and one from Juncos Hollinger Racing. Scott McLaughlin is returning, having won last year's St. Petersburg race, and Simon Pagenaud will be making his 200th Indycar start.
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