Honda's World Touring Car Championship team boss Alessandro Mariani has set out a bold aim to win the opening race of next season, despite the new Civic WTCC having only hit the track a week ago.
Mariani, whose JAS team is running Honda's works operation from its Italian base, said following the Civic's first proper test at Vallelunga that the programme has all the ingredients necessary - including drivers Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro - to challenge the established teams when it runs full-time in 2013.
"Although Honda is not putting any pressure on us, we would like to achieve some good results, and our true goal is winning the first race in 2013," Mariani said. "We all like to aim for victory! Anything may happen, but this is the right spirit when you take part in competitions.
"However, we must take into account that we have a brand new car, that we will start racing after only four test sessions and that the championship is very competitive. We have two great drivers, I know we have built a very-advanced car and Honda's reputation in engine expertise is second to none.
"We have all the right ingredients, we just need to be patient and take the time to mix them in the best way."
Tarquini, who will continue to test the car this year, but will not race it until 2013 due to his ongoing contract with the Lukoil SEAT squad, said that the key to a strong car will be getting the 1600cc turbocharged engine right as soon as possible.
"That was the first goal," the 2009 world champion said. "It's the most important part and the most difficult one to set-up. We have not done many miles yet, but I'm confident we'll get there.
"This is Honda's first factory programme since it left Formula 1, so there is pressure, but you can see how much in the way of engineering resources they are dedicating. Sure it's very hard to be in the WTCC and be at the front right away, but when I see the dedication of everybody around the project, I'm confident we'll catch up quickly."
Honda has won a WTCC race before - James Thompson taking victory at Imola in an N.Technology-run Accord in 2008 - but the Japanese manufacturer has never previously run a works team in the series.
Monteiro will give the Civic its debut at Suzuka in October and compete in the two remaining rounds of this season after the Japanese event. Tarquini will join the race team for 2013.