Touring cars are the best race cars, because they epitomize the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” ideal that so many classes of motorsport have abandoned. The Honda Civic Si that competes in IMSA as part of the Touring Car America series isn’t that different from the one you can buy in showrooms. And now, you can buy a race-ready Civic straight from Honda for right around $55,000 — relatively affordable when you think about it.
Honda Performance Development revealed this Civic Si FE1 race car on Thursday — a ready-to-race, homologated competition machine built in Marysville, Ohio, at the automaker’s Performance Manufacturing Center. That’s where the NSX is built, though regrettably not for much longer.
The powertrain is largely unchanged from the stock Si. You’re still getting Honda’s turbocharged 1.5-liter L15CA four-cylinder, good for 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. Most of what surrounds it, though, is different and better, upgraded for racing duty. The six-speed manual has been strengthened by HPD, with particular attention given to fourth gear. There’s a Cusco-supplied limited-slip differential and exhaust courtesy of Borla, and HPD has worked its magic on the Si’s ECU as well. Honda isn’t offering performance figures specific to the race car, but you can assume it’ll be a little quicker and sharper than the showroom equivalent.
The FE1 racer (FE1 is merely the chassis code for the new-gen Civic sedan, by the way) will definitely feel much faster than a standard Si, thanks to a wealth of weight trimming. HPD deletes the sunroof, sound deadening, insulation, underbody coating and seam sealer on these TCA-spec machines, saving about 400 pounds overall. Bilstein inverted double-adjustable dampers, Enkei RPF1 wheels, Wilwood six-piston brake calipers and slotted rotors and a full FIA-compliant roll cage are highlights among the rest of the upgrades; check HPD’s press release for the complete specs.
Those interested can plunk down a $25,000 deposit to reserve their touring car; HPD plans to start delivering them in November. The deposit alone is $2,500 shy of the starting price for a roadgoing Civic Si, so all told, you’re paying about double MSRP in exchange for all of HPD’s handiwork. Then again, this is a race car, and a $10,000 premium over the average price of a new vehicle doesn’t sound half bad for a comp-spec machine.