Honda Unveils New Civic Type R Pace Car

Honda has unveiled its new 2023 Honda Civic Type R Pace Car, which will lead the NTT IndyCar Series field to the green flag at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the automaker announced.

According to Honda, the new Civic Type R Pace Car is the most powerful model in the Type R ‘s 30-year history, and benefits from additional improvements made to the production Honda Civic Type R for 2023.

“Type R is very important for Honda as the pinnacle of our factory performance and an irreplaceable brand that enables enthusiasts to experience Honda’s racing spirit, and seek the ultimate in speed and driving pleasure,” said Hideki Kakinuma, global Civic Type R development leader. “The all-new Civic Type R will continue that legacy, leveraging Honda’s racetrack-proven engineering to deliver extreme performance and passion—both on the road and on the racetrack.”

Under its new vented aluminum hood is an even more powerful version of Honda’s K20C1 engine, Honda engineers said. Horsepower, torque and response are improved by a redesigned turbocharger, increased air intake flow rate, and a new more efficient exhaust system that features a straight through design and an active exhaust valve. The size, shape and number of the turbocharger’s turbine wheel blades have been optimized along with the flow path of the intake charge, enabling the turbocharger to generate pressure in a wider range and more efficiently.  The turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine now produces 315 horsepower at 6,500 rpm (SAE net) and 310 lb-ft of torque at 2,600-4,000 rpm (SAE net) – improvements of 9 hp and 15 lb-ft, making the Civic Type R one of the most powerful cars in its class per liter, with a specific output of 157.8 hp/liter, up from the previous generation ‘s 153.3.

Type R’s smooth and precise six-speed manual transmission is further improved by a lighter flywheel and a revised rev-match system, helping maintain stability on corner entry. The high-strength gearbox has also gained a high-rigidity lever and optimized shift gate pattern for a reassured and hyper-precise gear change. A standard helical-type limited-slip differential puts the engine’s power to the pavement effectively.

Now based on the all-new 11th-generation Civic Hatchback, Civic Type R’s scalpel-sharp responses and famously addictive driving feel are increased even further by a significantly more rigid body structure that supports both improved dynamics and refinement. The wheelbase has been extended for a smoother ride and greater stability. Its front and rear tracks are also significantly wider. Together with a retuned dual-axis strut front and multilink rear suspension, these changes improve straight-line stability and steering feel.

Final modifications to the Civic Type R for Pace Car duties include a Honda Performance Development [HPD] brake package, including competition rotors, racing pads and stainless steel brake lines; and four-point racing harnesses.

An exclusive pace car lighting system and Honda graphics caps the conversion from showroom Civic Type R to an NTT INDYCAR SERIES Pace Car.

A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at

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