Three rallying legends were invited to demonstrate the new Oaktec built Honda Civic Hybrid at the Chatsworth Rally Show this weekend. Monte Carlo winners Vic Elford and Rauno Aaltonen tried the car through the special stage on Saturday, and Russell Brookes sampled it on Sunday. The new car was debuting at the show and is the latest product of the EEMS backed Oaktec Hybrid motorsport project.
The 1300cc Group N spec Civic impressed all the drivers with its handling and the high torque hybrid motor, and the star drivers gave the team much useful feedback. They were all intrigued with the use of a CVT automatic transmission in a rally car and took time to study the workings of the hybrid system. Aaltonen commented “the last time I drove a high performance CVT was on a racing 2 stroke snowmobile in Finland”
The team will now embark on an intensive development programme and will compete the car in earnest before the end of the year concentrating on gaining performance from the IMA hybrid motor whilst retaining the low emissions output of the standard car.
The Formula 1000 Honda Insight Hybrid, which Oaktec has developed over the last two years, joined the new Civic on the stages and the two cars generated considerable interest from spectators and competitors throughout the weekend.
The Chatsworth Rally Show also featured the new Bowler ‘Nemesis’ – a new specially designed off-road racer disguised as a Range Rover Sport, and running on bioethanol.