Texas-based Gradient Racing has been hired by Honda Performance Development to build its new Civic Type R Touring Car model.
The team, formed by ex-CJ Wilson Racing staff and drivers, has been busy during the offseason with turning the body-in-white Hondas into turnkey race cars fitted with HPD componentry and safety equipment for use in SRO TC America’s TC class, NASA’s ST3 and E0 classes, and the SCCA’s T2 category.
“As one of the first commercial customers for our NSX GT3 Evo, we noted Gradient Racing’s high level of engineering skill and attention to detail that will carry over to building our latest ready-to-race Touring Car,” said John Whiteman, manager of HPD’s commercial motorsports. “We know that our extensive development on the Civic Type R race car means little without a corresponding level of excellence in the production of our customer cars. In selecting Gradient Racing, we know that Honda’s legendary reputation for quality and performance will also be in each of these vehicles.”
Led by team principal Andris Laivins, the Gradient team also represents HPD in IMSA and SRO competition with its Acura NSX GT3. Adding a manufacturing component to the relationship is a significant milestone for the organization.
“Sixteen years ago I got my start in the sport building Touring Cars to race against Honda in this same class, so this is a fun project,” Laivins said of the $89,900 Civic Type R TCs. “HPD did all the heavy lifting on the car development; they’ve had a test car running for months, and the efficient supply chain greatly simplifies the build process.
“Our team in Austin has built many cars over the last decade, but it’s always a treat when you can start with pristine, bare body-shells off the assembly line, and build a car up from all new parts. The first batch of cars is humming along, and I’m excited to see the first one on the track early next year. Just like the new Honda-powered F3 open-wheel car, I think this Type R racer is going to be an incredible value that hits a sweet spot in the market.”