The Honda brand is represented in the FIA Motorsport Games in both the TCR and GT Cup contests with a pair of cars apiece, Tom Coronel in the Netherlands-entered TCR Civic FK7, Jim Ka To in the Hong Kong-entered TCR.
In GT the pair of NSX GT3 Evos are in the colours of Denmark and again, Hong Kong, Christina Nielsen getting used to driving an NSX with a Honda, rather than an Acura, badge up front alongside 2019 Blancpain GT Sports Club Champion Jens Reno Moller, and KCMG owner (and regular Honda TCR racer) Paul Ip sharing the Hong Kong car with Marchy Lee.
The Hong Kong car is NSX GT3 chassis 027, a surprisingly large total for this writer, though it does include a number of spare chassis. It does though mean that the Honda/ Acura car is in no danger of missing the GT3 homologation cut (20 cars to be sold in first 2 years).
It also means that the focus for Honda now shifts slightly, to more examination of where priority marketplaces lie.
“We are, absolutely, looking at areas where we can encourage customers to race the cars,” Mads Fischer, head of Honda Customer racing at JAS Motorsport, told the DSC Editor on Saturday. “In 2020 we’re looking firmly at Asia, and in particular to China, where we have cars that will emerge into racing after some months of testing in the background, and in Thailand (Super Series) where there are very good marketing opportunities for the Honda brand. We hope to have two cars in China GT in 2020.”
And are there priority markets in Europe to try to place more cars?
“Of course there are places we would like to see cars but our approach is very different from some other manufacturer customer racing departments. We will not give cars to teams, there has to be a commercial proposition, that is the Honda way of doing this and it keeps the objective very clear for us.
“Europe is a very tough, and a very different market to most because there is so much constant pressure for teams to switch, with a number of manufacturers prepared to help that process along. That means that we continue to focus on a relatively small number of loyal customers and to ensure that we are aligned with their commercial objectives. It’s not to say we won’t look for opportunities to expand our customer base, that is a constant priority, but we want the right customers.” We’ve seen other customer racing departments expand their ranges in recent years, are JAS and Honda looking at anything new?
“Of course we have our eyes open for options and opportunities, I’d love to see us back into rallying, for instance, I believe that would have real competitive and commercial potential. At present though, as everybody knows, those decisions have to be very carefully taken before the investment required to move forward can be guaranteed. We are though very keen to have a real presence with the brand in a number of key customer sports markets.”