2019 Honda Civic Type R TCR race car: Front-wheel-drive bottle rocket

Unlike some other race cars out there, the Civic’s race seat is not directly bolted to the frame; it does move fore and aft to help you find a good spot for pedal reach. Thankfully, the steering wheel also tilts and telescopes, making it easy to get comfortable. The interior is different from the road-going Type R in the sense that, well, it’s not there. A simple plastic dashboard meets the base of the windshield; otherwise, it’s nothing but a bunch of wire looms and purposeful equipment. The instrument panel, for example, is a small screen from MoTeC that moves with the steering column and provides tons of info about all the car’s systems.
 
Starting it is a touch more involved than the road car. In a box with eight buttons on the lower console, make sure “main” and “ign” (ignition) are switched on and the hydraulically actuated, six-speed XTRAC sequential transmission is in neutral. Then hit a third button on the box: “start.” With that, the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that the Type R receives snarls to life, muted a touch by high-flow catalytic converters, but no mufflers that I could see or hear.
 
Though louder, the race engine comes from the same Anna, Ohio, engine plant as the road car’s, and the internals (pistons, rings, valvetrain, etc.) are more or less left alone. It’s “more or less” because JAS does seal the engine. But plenty of the engine is modified, including a lightweight flywheel, larger turbocharger exhaust turbine, high-flow stainless steel exhaust and racing catalytic converter, high-flow intake and air filter, custom oil sump baffle plate, larger radiator, intercooler, oil cooler, upgraded engine mounts, BOP engine limiting software and a MoTeC ECU that maps the engine to run 100 octane fuel.
 
Unrestricted by Balance of Performance, aka BoP, I have 340 hp at 6,200 rpm and 310 lb-ft at 5,200 rpm. That’s a lot. But not that much more than the production Type R motor at 306 hp at 6,500 rpm and 295 lb-ft between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm, which also includes a warranty. The race engine’s power and torque figures also make it easy to believe Honda’s claim of stock internals.