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Auto News

Rumour: Honda Civic BS6 Diesel to be launched next week

According to a media report, Honda is likely to launch the Civic BS6 diesel sometime next week.

Honda has already started accepting pre-bookings for the Civic BS6 diesel. The car will be powered by an upgraded version of the 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine. It will be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The Civic also gets a BS6-compliant petrol engine. The 1.8-litre unit produces 139 BHP @ 6,500 rpm and 174 Nm @ 4,300 rpm and is offered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

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Racing

Super GT news: Kunimitsu Honda saved from ‘terrible’ opener

The delay to the 2020 SUPER GT season caused by the global coronavirus pandemic has saved the Kunimitsu Honda team from a “terrible” first round, believes Naoki Yamamoto.

Japan’s premier sportscar racing series was able to complete its opening pre-season test at Okayama back in March before the spread of COVID-19 caused the second test and the opening races of the season to be put on hold.

The opening race will finally take place on July 18-19 at Fuji Speedway following last weekend’s two-day test at the same track, which was topped by Kunimitsu’s #100 NSX-GT.

Team newcomer Tadasuke Makino set the fastest time on the opening day, which turned out to be the best lap of the test – marking a significant turnaround for the team after it struggled for pace relative to some of its fellow Honda teams during the Okayama test.

Yamamoto said that the three-month break had given Kunimitsu the chance to work out what had gone wrong before, transforming the team’s prospects for the start of the season.

“We have had several tests since the new car was built and the performance wasn’t very good,” Yamamoto told Motorsport.com. “I couldn’t drive in the way I thought I would be able to, and I was worrying about the team.

“We had some trouble during [private] testing in February, so we worked out the problems and then we went to the joint test in March [at Okayama].

“The movement of the car at that time wasn’t bad, but whether I was driving or Tadasuke was driving, it felt like there was something wrong with the set-up. But because neither the drivers nor the engineers could work out what it was, we were in trouble.

“Then the spread of coronavirus created this delay, and in that time we were able to thoroughly identify the weak points and this time bring along this [stronger] car.”

He added: “If we had to follow the original schedule, we would have had to race just one month after the Okayama test. Honestly, to have the opening round in that situation, it could have been terrible. It means this delay has allowed us to reset the car.

“Finally, we could run without problems [at the Fuji test]. And so, we realised we could run a lot faster, and furthermore the car had become easy to drive. It was a big relief.”

#100 RAYBRIG NSX-GT

Photo by: GTA

Commenting on the new front aerodynamic package Honda brought to the Fuji test, Yamamoto said the latest spec was “easier to drive” but that he still isn’t sure which specification will be used for the Fuji opener this month.

“I did a comparative test and found good points and bad points for each [specification],” he explained. “So after thoroughly checking the data and listening to the comments from the drivers and the teams, finally Honda will decide which one to use.”

Yamamoto won the 2018 SUPER GT title alongside Jenson Button but the pair experienced a tough title defence last year, failing to win any races and placing eighth in the standings.

The 31-year-old feels bullish about his prospects alongside new teammate Makino.

“There’s not much time until the first race, but if we have this car as the foundation, I feel like it’s enough to be able to fight,” he said. “Now our expectations are bigger than our anxieties.

“It will be the first race where all three manufacturers are fighting under the same rules [following Honda’s switch to a front-engined car], so my motivation as a driver is even higher than usual. I’m looking forward to it a lot. I want to win the opening race by any means.”

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Racing

Honda to run upgraded engine in Austrian GP

Red Bull’s hopes of taking the fight to Mercedes in Austria have been further boosted with Honda bringing an upgraded engine.

With the Formula 1 season having been called off before cars left the pitlane at the Australian Grand Prix, it means all teams are free to bring new car and engine packages to Austria.

Speaking in a team preview ahead of this weekend’s first round of the championship, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that engine partner Honda would be bringing what was its original second version of the power unit to the Red Bull Ring.

“We have an engine upgrade, as we essentially introduce what would have been engine number two, which becomes our first engine,” he said.

“So in all aspects of the car there has been an awful lot of work go into [it], and it’s been a race against the clock to get those updates onto the car since reopening the factory at the beginning of June.”

Red Bull revealed some changes to its car during its Silverstone filming day last week, with Horner says the team is introducing parts that had been planned for the early phase of the campaign.

“We don’t really know where we stand going into Austria and of course the car would have been developed,” he explained.

“There would have been updates at the first European races at Zandvoort and Barcelona, and there would have been further updates for Montreal.

“So of course all the updates that were in the pipeline prior to the shutdown, plus whatever we’ve learned subsequent to the shutdown, have been implemented to the car.

“There are subtle revisions all over the car as part of that update process which I’m sure the other front running teams have also done.”

Horner also praised the ever-strengthening relationship with Honda, which he hopes can help it fight for the world championship this year.

“As we head into our second year of our Honda relationship it feels much more integrated within the team. We enjoyed a great debut season with Honda winning three races, and of course now we’re looking to build on that.

“They’re ambitious, they share the same ambitions that we do, they’ve been working tremendously hard during the off-season and of course come into this year with higher expectations.

“It’s a key part of the car and a key partner for us as we move forward and look to mount a challenge for championships in the future.”

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Racing

Honda completes Fuji Super GT test clean sweep

Honda completed a clean sweep of SUPER GT’s pre-season test at Fuji Speedway, as Tomoki Nojiri put the ARTA squad at the head of the timesheets on Sunday.

The two-hour afternoon session started in damp conditions owing to heavy rain during the morning, but the track had all but dried out by the halfway point.

Saturday’s pacesetter Tadasuke Makino held the top spot for much of the latter part of the session after wresting the advantage away from Cerumo Toyota driver Sho Tsuboi with a time of 1m28.282s early in the second hour.

But the Kunimitsu Honda driver was deposed with around 17 minutes left on the clock by TOM’S Toyota man Ryo Hirakawa, who posted a best effort 1m28.192s.

That looked as if it would be enough to end the day fastest, but a last-ditch flyer by Nojiri at the wheel of the #6 Honda NSX-GT with just 30 seconds remaining resulted in a time of 1m28.059s, good enough to beat Hirakawa in the #37 GR Supra by 0.133s.

Makino’s earlier best time in the #100 Honda was still good enough for third, 0.223s off the pace, but his Saturday benchmark of 1m27.870s was not threatened.

Reigning SUPER GT champion Kazuya Oshima took over the #14 Cerumo Supra from Tsuboi in the closing stages and posted a time good enough for fourth, exactly three tenths off the pace, ahead of Mugen Honda newcomer Ukyo Sasahara in fifth place.

Yuji Tachikawa was sixth-fastest in the #38 Cerumo Supra, followed by Koudai Tsukakoshi in the Real Racing Honda and SARD Toyota substitute Kenta Yamashita.

Nissan enjoyed a much smoother day on Sunday after its problem-filled Saturday, but concluded the test more than a second off the pace with Tsugio Matsuda ninth in the flagship NISMO entry and Daiki Sasaki completing the top 10 in the Impul-entered GT-R.

#100 RAYBRIG NSX-GT

Photo by: GTA

Earlier in the day, Makino had topped the morning session, which was shortened from the originally-planned two hours to 90 minutes owing to the bad weather.

On his 23rd birthday, the ex-Formula 2 driver posted a 1m40.147s with just over a minute left on the clock to better the earlier benchmark set by his Kunimitsu Honda teammate Naoki Yamamoto and end up 0.333s clear of the Cerumo Toyota of Tachikawa.

A late jump up the order by Tsuboi put the sister Cerumo GR Supra in third, a further four tenths behind. Nirei Fukuzumi was fourth-fastest in the ARTA Honda ahead of top Nissan man Ronnie Quintarelli in the NISMO GT-R.

In the GT300 class, factory Subaru driver Hideki Yamauchi set the fastest time of the test with a 1m37.379s best lap at the wheel of the works R&D Sport BRZ. That was enough to beat the Saturday benchmark set by Drago Corse Honda driver Jake Parsons by 0.033s.

Gainer Nissan driver Hironobu Yasuda was second-fastest, 0.137s adrift of Yamauchi, ahead of the Goodsmile Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Tatsuya Kataoka and the Saitama Toyopet Toyota Supra of Formula 4 graduate Kohta Kawaai.

ARTA’s Honda NSX GT3 suffered a suspension problem early in the afternoon session that forced Toshiki Oyu to come to a stop on track, bringing out the red flags, but Oyu recovered to set the fifth-fastest time of the day late on.

That was the second interruption of the session, as Yuhki Nakayama had crashed the #31 apr Toyota Prius at Turn 5 some minutes earlier. The #31 car was therefore forced to sit out the remainder of the day.

SUPER GT testing times Day 2 (GT500 class):

Pos. No. Team/Car Drivers Morning time Afternoon time
1 6 ARTA Honda

Tomoki Nojiri

Nirei Fukuzumi

1’41.212 1’28.059
2 37 TOM’S Toyota

Ryo Hirakawa

Nick Cassidy

1’42.252 1’28.192
3 100 Kunimitsu Honda

Naoki Yamamoto

Tadasuke Makino

1’40.147 1’28.282
4 14 Cerumo Toyota

Kazuya Oshima

Sho Tsuboi

1’40.864 1’28.359
5 16 Mugen Honda

Hideki Mutoh

Ukyo Sasahara

1’42.764 1’28.481
6 38 Cerumo Toyota

Hiroaki Ishiura

Yuji Tachikawa

1’40.480 1’28.522
7 17 Real Honda

Koudai Tsukakoshi

Yu Kanamaru

1’42.320 1’28.581
8 39 SARD Toyota

Yuichi Nakayama

Kenta Yamashita

1’41.494 1’28.795
9 23 NISMO Nissan

Ronnie Quintarelli

Tsugio Matsuda

1’41.405 1’29.087
10 12 Impul Nissan

Daiki Sasaki

Kazuki Hiramine

1’45.166 1’29.372
11 36 TOM’S Toyota

Yuhi Sekiguchi

Sacha Fenestraz

1’41.929 1’29.429
12 24 Kondo Nissan

Jann Mardenborough

Mitsunori Takaboshi

1’44.009 1’30.321
13 19 Bandoh Toyota

Yuji Kunimoto

Ritomo Miyata

1’43.860 1’30.510
14 3 B-Max Nissan

Kohei Hirate

Katsumasa Chiyo

1’41.840 1’30.749
15 64 Nakajima Honda

Takuya Izawa

Hiroki Otsu

1’43.781 1’31.895

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Racing

Makino fastest for Honda at Fuji, Nissan in trouble

Honda driver Tadasuke Makino topped the opening day of SUPER GT pre-season testing at Fuji Speedway following the Japanese championship’s three-month hiatus.

On the first day of track action since the opening test at Okayama in March, before the global coronavirus pandemic placed the season on hold, ex-Formula 2 driver Makino posted a 1m27.870s at the wheel of Team Kunimitsu’s #100 Honda NSX-GT.

All the leading times were set in the final 10 minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour afternoon session, when the faster GT500 cars had the track to themselves.

Sho Tsuboi had held the top spot for most of the session up to that point in the #14 Cerumo Toyota Supra that went quickest in the morning session in the hands of Kazuya Oshima.

But Tsuboi was one of only a handful of drivers to not go quicker in the afternoon session, as first Ukyo Sasahara (Mugen Honda), Nirei Fukuzumi (ARTA Honda) and Ryo Hirakawa (TOM’S Toyota) all enjoyed brief stints at the head of the timesheets.

Makino then set the quickest time of the day so far just after the chequered flag fell, with Sacha Fenestraz making a late move to second in the second TOM’S Supra but falling just 0.034 seconds short of the pace.

Koudai Tsukakoshi was third-fastest for Real Racing Honda, a further 0.069s behind. Tsukakoshi shared the #17 NSX-GT with SUPER GT rookie Yu Kanamaru, who was deputising for the absent Bertrand Baguette.

Another substitute driver, Kenta Yamashita – filling in for Heikki Kovalainen in the SARD Toyota – was fourth-fastest, while Hirakawa ensured it was three Toyotas in the top five.

Fukuzumi found themselves shuffled back to sixth and seventh places respectively ahead of the best of the Nissan drivers, Jann Mardenborough in the Kondo Racing GT-R.

Nissan endured a troubled return to SUPER GT action, with its quartet of GT500 cars responsible for causing three of the day’s five red flags.

The #3 B-Max Nissan caused the first interruption in the morning, coming to a halt at Turn 12 late in the first hour, before both the Impul and Kondo Nissans stopped on track at the same time after an hour of afternoon running. The Kondo Nissan then hit trouble for a second time roughly an hour later, causing another stoppage.

The morning session was topped by the #14 Toyota of reigning SUPER GT champion Oshima, who clocked a 1m28.482s just prior to the second red flag interruption of the day, caused by one of the JLOC Lamborghinis stopping.

That time was enough to eclipse Hiroaki Ishiura in the sister #38 Cerumo Supra by 0.233s, as Ishiura set his best time with just six minutes left of the two-hour session.

Nissan driver Ronnie Quintarelli’s early benchmark of 1m28.848s was good enough for third ahead of another late improver, Yuhi Sekiguchi in the #36 TOM’S Supra, and the Impul Nissan of Daiki Sasaki. Best of the Hondas was ARTA newcomer Fukuzumi in sixth.

Fastest in the GT300 class was the #34 Drago Corse Honda NSX GT3 of Australian driver Jake Parsons, who set the fastest time of 1m37.412s in the closing stages of the afternoon.

Nobuteru Taniguchi was just 0.009s adrift in the #4 Goodsmile Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, followed by the LEON Racing Mercedes of Naoya Gamou another 0.024s back.

SUPER GT testing times Day 1 (GT500 class):

Pos. No. Team/Car Drivers Morning time Afternoon time
1 100 Kunimitsu Honda

Naoki Yamamoto

Tadasuke Makino

1’29.063 1’27.870
2 36 TOM’S Toyota

Yuhi Sekiguchi

Sacha Fenestraz

1’29.006 1’27.904
3 17 Real Honda

Koudai Tsukakoshi

Yu Kanamaru

1’29.124 1’27.973
4 39 SARD Toyota

Yuichi Nakayama

Kenta Yamashita

1’29.339 1’27.981
5 37 TOM’S Toyota

Nick Cassidy

Ryo Hirakawa

1’29.126 1’28.174
6 8 ARTA Honda

Tomoki Nojiri

Nirei Fukuzumi

1’29.047 1’28.283
7 16 Mugen Honda

Hideki Mutoh

Ukyo Sasahara

1’29.648 1’28.405
8 24 Kondo Nissan

Jann Mardenborough

Mitsunori Takaboshi

1’30.285 1’28.556
9 14 Cerumo Toyota

Kazuya Oshima

Sho Tsuboi

1’28.482 1’28.742
10 19 Bandoh Toyota

Ritomo Miyata

Yuji Kunimoto

1’30.288 1’28.677
11 64 Nakajima Honda

Takuya Izawa

Hiroki Otsu

1’30.123 1’28.757
12 38 Cerumo Toyota

Hiroaki Ishiura

Yuji Tachikawa

1’28.715 1’28.855
13 23 NISMO Nissan

Ronnie Quintarelli

Tsugio Matsuda

1’28.848 1’28.833
14 3 B-Max Nissan

Kohei Hirate

Katsumasa Chiyo

1’30.066 1’28.934
15 12 Impul Nissan

Daiki Sasaki

Kazuki Hiramine

1’29.025 1’29.032

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Auto News

5th-gen Honda City bookings open

Honda has started accepting bookings for the new City ahead of its launch next month.

The production of the fifth generation City is already underway at Honda’s Greater Noida plant and dealer dispatches have also commenced.

The new City will be offered with a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine producing 119 BHP and 145 Nm. This engine will be offered with either a 6-speed manual or a CVT. The car will also come with a BS6-compliant 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder diesel unit producing 98 BHP and 200 Nm. The diesel engine will be paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

The car comes with features such as an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, 7-inch digital instrument cluster, electric sunroof, automatic headlights, rear sunshade and ambient lighting. It gets the next generation Honda Connect with Telematics Control Unit with 32 connected features. It also has Alexa remote capability.

The new Honda City has a 5-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating. Safety features include 6 airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Agile Handling Assist (AHA), Hill Start Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Honda LaneWatch Camera, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, ISOFIX child safety seat anchor points and rear view camera.

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Auto News

Honda Grazia BS6 launched at Rs. 73,336

The Honda Grazia now comes with a BS6-compliant engine. It is available in two variants – Standard and Deluxe with prices starting at Rs. 73,336 (ex-showroom, Gurgaon).

The Grazia BS6 comes with a slightly redesigned bodywork. It gets an LED headlamp positioned on the front apron and LED daytime running lights on the handlebar cowl. The instrument cluster is a digital unit that displays information like distance to empty, average and real-time fuel efficiency. It also has a 3-step ECO indicator, clock and service due indicator. The Deluxe variant gets alloy wheels, a disc brake at the front and idle start-stop system.

The Grazia BS6 is powered by the same engine as the Activa 125. It’s a 124cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine that has fuel-injection. Honda has not shared the detailed engine specifications of the Grazia yet. The scooter also gets new telescopic fork suspension at the front and is said to have increased the ground clearance by 16 mm.

The Grazia BS6 is available in four colour options – Matte Cyber Yellow, Pearl Spartan Red, Pearl Siren Blue and Matte Axis Grey.

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Car Reviews

Honda Civic – sales of the FC sedan ends in Japan – paultan.org

Despite playing in a shrinking segment brought about by the unrelenting assault from SUVs and growing B-segment alternatives, the tenth-gen Honda Civic has enjoyed reasonable sales success. The FC sedan remains a good volume seller in the United States, and closer to home, has led the way in the C-segment arena since it appeared.

Unfortunately, things aren’t as rosy in other places, especially in Japan, where the Civic first emerged as a compact hatch back in 1972. Word is that Honda has decided to pull the plug on the sedan form of the nameplate in its domestic market.

The reason behind this is due to poor demand, as Automotive News reports. Just 1,619 units of the sedan were sold in its home market last year, compared to around a quarter of a million N-Box kei cars. The maths mean that time is being called on the FC sedan, and local production at the automaker’s Yorii plant in Saitama will also come to an end.

It’s not the end of the road for the Civic in Japan – the five-door hatchback and the Type R will continue to be sold as imports, until the end of their life-cycle. That may come sooner than later, given that the hatchback is built at the automaker’s Swindon plant in the UK, which is set to shutter next year.

The decision to end Civic sales in Japan marks the second time in the past decade that the model is being removed from the local line-up. The first was in 2010, before the tenth-gen eventually returned it to the fold. It’s likely that the Civic nameplate will continue on to another generation, but questions remain on where it will be built.

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