If you follow the history of Lotus Engineering, you’ll find them involved in a number of interesting projects over the years. Here’s another: development of an off-the-shelf Civic Hybrid into a race car.
Remember that in the Honda Civic Hybrid system, the electric motor acts as an assist when needed, not as the primary means of propulsion. Since lectric motors make 100% of their torque at 1 RPM and up (way up!), this is ideal in situations where extra power is seamlessly needed – such as acceleration out of a corner.
There are questions – such as keeping the batteries cool and keeping them charged by the engine and by regenerative braking. No doubt the race car is fully instrumented to monitor these data.
And no doubt this could be the start of using electric motors for motorsport, as discussed in this blog over the past few years. Electric motors could be a great benefit to driving enthusiasts – it’s just a matter of development and time.
Lotus Press Release follows:
Lotus Engineering, the world renowned automotive consultancy division of Lotus is collaborating with Oaktec to develop the performance of a Honda Civic Hybrid for stage rallying and circuit racing.
Recognised as a global leader in hybrid and electric vehicle development, Lotus Engineering is supplying technical expertise to Oaktec in developing racing technology that exploits the performance potential of the petrol electric Honda hybrid system. The Honda Civic Hybrid will compete on the racetrack with ultra low exhaust emissions and high fuel efficiency.
Lancashire based Oaktec, a specialist in energy efficient vehicle design, approached Lotus Engineering to investigate areas of battery and system control technology that enable maximum racing performance and efficiency from the hybrid drivetrain. The collaboration is in partnership with Energy Efficient Motorsport (EEMS), Motorsport Development and Honda UK. The project has won funding from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus Plc said:
The debate has been raging on the internet about this… bottom line is the lack of a limited slip diff in the RSX S-Type, the reprogramability of the Si computer, and the fact that all aftermarket energies will be focused on the Si from now on.
Although the RSX S-Type has much better seats and is more “normal” looking. And a considerable load of aftermarket parts that have been available for years and in quantity.
Some people are turned off by the Si styling. Just be glad we don’t get the Euro version, which is mechanically identical but even more wild. Nevermind that the European Civic has an “R” model – it’s actually nothing more than an Si. Same engine, same suspension (standard 18s).
Nevertheless it’s time to make the choice and make it soon. Very few RSXs are available at this point – much less the S-Type models.
To help make the choice, I’ve added a comparison chart, spec-by-spec, in my “Other Honda & Acura” section. Or, follow this link: http://www.s2000enthusiast.com/sec-other_honda-acura/civic-rsx_comparison.htm
The Car Connection has the scoop on the European Civic 3-door… a completely different body and interior from the North American Civic. Other than the body and the addition of a wider range of engines, the car is mechanically identical.
The European equivalent of our “Si” is the “R” – the engine is the same although no doubt the suspension tuning is a bit more aggressive. In fact it’s not really an “R” model (no Recaros, no Brembos, no hand-finished engine) as it is an Si (a brand unknown in Europe). Given the success of the Si that’s not a bad thing… although we are left wondering why Honda isn’t producing a full line of R models as they once did (Civic, Integra, and NSX – but most unfortunately not the S2000).
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News from Honda: Civic Type R Concept Video Report from Geneva Auto Salon!
Video Report (46 seconds):
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Honda Civic Si Sedan Concept. (2006 Chicago Auto Show)
CHICAGO 02/08/2006 — The Civic Si Sedan Concept is making its debut at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today.
The Civic Si Sedan Concept provides strong hints of the styling and performance for a production Civic Si Sedan scheduled to go on sale this fall, marking the first time that “Si” performance has become available in the Civic Sedan. Similar to the recently introduced Civic Si Coupe, the production Civic Si Sedan will serve as another performance leader for the Civic line-up with a 197-horsepower, 16-valve, DOHC i-VTEC engine with an 8,000 rpm redline, mated to a close-ratio, 6-speed manual transmission. Helping to put all that power to the ground is a helical-type, limited slip differential for improved traction and cornering performance.
The Civic Si Sedan Concept features custom 18-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels, 225/40ZR18 high-performance tires, and 4-wheel disc brakes with large cross-drilled brake rotors and 4-piston Brembo calipers.
“The Civic Si Sedan Concept demonstrates how the high-performance attributes of the Civic Si Coupe can be directly applied to the functionality of a sedan,” said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda.
A production vehicle based on the Civic Si Sedan Concept will go on sale this fall. The 2007 Civic Si Sedan will mark a further evolution of Civic Si’s sixth generation alongside the Civic Si Coupe – and will be the first time a Civic Si is available in two body styles. The Civic Si first appeared in 1986 with subsequent Civic Si models appearing in 1989, 1992, 1999 and 2002.
The Civic Si Concept (coupe version) made its debut at the 2005 Chicago Auto Show, preceding the introduction of the all-new 2006 Civic Si, Civic Hybrid, Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe. The Civic Si Coupe and Civic Si Sedan will both complement the Civic lineup with features designed to appeal to true enthusiasts seeking a high level of performance and value.
The all-new 2006 Honda Civic has attracted a high level of acclaim, including Motor Trend magazine’s prestigious 2006 Car of the Year award and the 2006 North American Car of the Year award.
Source: Hondanews.com: Latest Honda Corporate Photos and Releases
Competing in its first sanctioned motorsports event, the all-new 2006 Honda Civic Si placed first and second in class at the grueling “25 Hours of Thunderhill” endurance race at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California, on December 3 and 4, 2005.
Source: Hondanews.com: Latest Honda Corporate Photos and Releases
Torrance, Calif. 12/01/2005 — American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced the all-new 2006 Honda Civic Si Coupe is debuting today at dealerships nationwide with a suggested retail price of $19,990.
New features on all 2006 Si models include:
- 197-horsepower*, 2.0-liter i-VTEC(TM) 4-cylinder engine
- 6-speed manual transmission with helical-type limited slip differential
- EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy of 23/32 miles per gallon**
- Exclusive exterior includes rear deck wing and Si emblems
- Standard 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/45 R17 87V tires
- Side curtain airbags, front side airbags and dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags
- Advanced Compatibility Engineering(TM) (ACE(TM)) Body Structure
- Anti-lock brakes (with 4-channel ABS and Electronic Brake Distribution)
The Civic Si Coupe is available with a Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Activation for the suggested retail price of $21,740. High-performance summer tires are also available as a factory option, bringing the suggested retail price to $20,190 ($21,940 on vehicles with navigation). Recently, the all-new Honda Civic earned Motor Trend magazine’s prestigious 2006 Car of the Year award, extending to the entire Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe lineup including the Si and Hybrid models. Destination and handling charges for all 2006 Honda vehicles are $550.
* SAE Net (revised 8/04)
** Use for comparison purposes only. Actual mileage may vary.
All-New 2006 Civic Si to Make Racing Debut at the “25 Hours of Thunderhill” Severe Endurance Race.
Seeking to underscore the performance potential of the all-new 2006 Honda Civic Si, Honda announced today it will campaign two in the annual “25 Hours of Thunderhill” endurance race on December 3 and 4. Billed as the “most severe endurance race on the planet,” the 25 Hours of Thunderhill will mark the first time the 2006 Civic Si will compete in a sanctioned motorsports event. Cars in the race will be piloted by two teams of four drivers comprised of Honda associates from its various North American operations, and two members of the automotive media. Engineers from Honda RD Americas in Ohio built the cars to National Auto Sport Association (NASA) U.S. Touring Car Championship specs…
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Source: Hondanews.com: Latest Honda Racing Photos and Releases