Old and new Honda hybrids compete together in rally for first time

Oaktec’s Honda Civic Hybrid rally car competed alongside its forerunner, the Insight Hybrid, for the first ever time at the Roskirk Stages Rally in Wigan at weekend.

Oaktec’s Paul Andrews and Bill Meeson who pioneered the Honda Hybrids in rallying were out in the cars, along with experienced rally engineer and stand in co-driver “Haggis” Gilmour, and British Rally Championship (BRC) media co-ordinator Simon Moss.

“We were delighted to be invited to be part of this successful team” said Moss, “and it was a fantastic result to get both cars to the finish on their joint debut.” He continued, “The cars both run the same Honda Hybrid system coupled to CVT (automatic) transmissions, which took a few stages to get used to. But the Civic was very easy to drive and the hybrid system worked faultlessly.”

The Energy Efficient Motor Sport (EEMS)-supported Hondas have had the performance enhanced by tuning the petrol-electric hybrid drives; however the tweaks retain the ultra-low CO2 emissions of the standard road cars.

Andrews commented, “We are considering fielding the Civic on some BRC Challenge events later in the year that run alongside the main championship. We are talking to a former factory driver with a view to contesting an asphalt event like the Jim Clark Rally.”

“It would be great to involve environmentally sensitive projects like this in the BRC in the future,” said Moss, “and the BRC Challenge is a great introduction to the main series.”

Both Civic and Insight rally cars will be on display at Race Retro, the International Historic Motorsport Show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire from the 14th to 16th of March this year.

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