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Honda Civic Type R TC is a ton of race car for not a ton of race car money

The car slots in between HPD's Civic Si TC and the full-fat Type R TCR, and we really, really have to drive it.

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The Type R TC may look like a mostly streetable car, but it's only getting sold to real racing customers.

Honda

Pretend for a minute that you're a racing car driver with your own team. You love Honda, and the Type R TCR is looking like it would be a near-perfect car to campaign this season, but the only problem is that it's $172,000 plus spares, and while you've got enough money to race, your app didn't sell for that much money.

Fear not, because Honda Performance Development (aka HPD, aka Honda's in-house racing division) has a solution for you which it announced on Thursday, and it slots in neatly between the Civic Si TCA race car and the Civic Type R TCR. It's called the Civic Type R TC, and it's not cheap at $89,900, but it's a lot of race car for the money.

"The successes of Honda Racing Development's TCA Civic Si and TCR Type R in North American touring car championship series have generated a strong interest in more ready-to-race Honda Touring Cars for North America," said Ted Klaus, president of Honda Performance Development, in a statement. "With the introduction of the new Type R TC-class race car, we now offer a complete lineup of turn-key, Civic-based race cars for registered racing customers in North America."

What exactly does the omission of that last R mean for prospective buyers? To start, the engine is the same as the one in the production Civic Type R. Unlike the TCR's engine, which is calibrated and sealed by JAS Motorsport, this baby is right off the production line. Power levels are comparable give or take 10 horsepower, so this is more of a class rules and/or reliability issue.

The Type R TC gives up some of the race car jewelry from its big brother to come in at around half the price, but not as much as you'd expect.

Honda

Next, the TC forgoes the TCR's fancy X-Trac sequential gearbox and instead uses a production six-speed manual that's got HPD-strengthened third and fourth gears and a Cusco limited-slip differential. There's no paddle shifters or anything, so in the Type R TC, you'll be rowing your own gears.

The chassis of the TC gets all kinds of HPD performance bracing and a roll cage but lacks the TCR's high-zoot Ohlins suspension. With that, you do sacrifice some of the adjustability that comes with such pricey suspenders, but there's still plenty to tweak, thanks to adjustable control arms, sway bars, camber/caster plates and more. You're also giving up forged wheels for cast ones.

The TC gets factory power steering and a factory steering column that tilts and telescopes, but you lose the production steering wheel, and in its place, you get an OMP unit with a quick release, because race car. Brakes are Brembo units with two-piece rotors up front, stock units at the rear, and you also get an HPD-tuned ABS unit and cooling ducts.

Now, before you get all excited, the Type R TC is only available to eligible Honda Racing Line customers, meaning that not just any geek off the street can turn up and buy one with plans to drive it away down the 405 freeway. 

With the Civic Type R TC, you'll be eligible to participate in the SCCA's T2 class, NASA's (no, not that NASA) ST5 and E2 classes and SRO's Touring Car Americas TC class. Not bad for a race car that costs M3-with-a-few-options money.

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