In Honda's exhibition area at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, we were surprised to find a Civic all painted up in racing colors and promotions. Even stranger, it's a Civic Hybrid, not a car you see on the NASCAR circuit. This Civic Hybrid, the accompanying placard informed us, has been entered in the 2007 Nurburgring 24-hour race. That got our attention.
Honda considers its finish of 108th out of 220 teams starting a "sensational result." We will give them that. Twenty-four hours of laps around the Nurburgring, one of the world's most grueling courses, is going to be tough on any car. That the Civic's hybrid powertrain could handle this race is testament to some excellent build-quality. The Civic Hybrid completed laps of the 25.4 kilometer course in as little as 12 minutes, averaging 16.8mpg over the race, which isn't a bad number for this type of driving. Honda considers the Civic Hybrid's performance proof positive that the hybrid technology is race-ready.