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Honda to run a factory team in the World Touring Car Championship later this year

Gordon Shedden Honda BTCC 2011

Honda will enter the World Touring Car Championship later this year with a works programme based around its Civic model.

The Japanese manufacturer plans to take in "a string of events" later in the season before committing to a full, two-car campaign in 2013. The programme will be run by Italian team JAS Motorsport.

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said: "We took the decision to enter in the WTCC with the European Civic. We will develop a totally new engine for this project and we are all excited about starting this new challenge."

Although Honda would not confirm which event the car would make its race debut at, it does plan to take part in its home event at Suzuka and at the Macau season finale.

Honda's announcement means that four manufacturers look likely to run factory WTCC programmes in 2013, with champion outfit Chevrolet likely to remain in the series, Lada set to expand to a full season and SEAT also eyeing a return to the Championship.

A Honda last ran competitively in the WTCC in 2008, N.Technology taking James Thompson to a race victory. Honda also dominated last year's British Touring Car Championship, Matt Neal taking the drivers' title and the Team Dynamics=run squad winning the teams' and constructors/manufacturers' crowns.

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