TCR / 10 April 2023

Restart Racing put brand-new Civic Type R TCR on podium on global debut

The brand-new Honda Civic Type R TCR FL5 scored a magnificent podium finish on its global race debut during the weekend in TCR UK while there was also a class win for the FK7 model as TCR Eastern Europe kicked off its season.

The result, which was scored by British team Restart Racing and driver Chris Smiley, was a milestone for car builders JAS Motorsport, who had never had a TCR model achieve a top-three result on its first competitive outing previously.



Reigning champion Chris Smiley had the honour of giving the new machine - which is based on the latest FL5-model Civic production vehicle - its debut as he began his title defence at Snetterton.

Fifth place in qualifying was followed by a battling performance as he rose up the order to finish third; supported from the garage by a number of JAS personnel. A first-corner incident sadly put Smiley out of Race Two within seconds of the start.

Team-mate Scott Sumpton qualified 11th and finished 10th in the opener, only to be excluded due to an administrative that led to him racing on the wrong set of tyres. He started Race Two from the back and climbed to 13th spot.


TCR Eastern Europe

Rene Kircher was the Junior Trophy winner in fourth place overall in the opening race of the season at Oschersleben. The Mertel Motorsport driver ran with the leaders throughout the 25 minutes and then added sixth spot - and third in Trophy - in Race Two.

His Georgian team-mate Davit Kajaia dropped from fifth on the grid to ninth by the first corner but fought back to fifth by the flag and added seventh spot in Race Two.

Antonio Citera, whose MSC Rottenegg Civic is run by RTM Motorsport, was second in the Trophy category in Race Two while Honda Wyszomirski's Sebastian Kolakowski was fourth in class in both races.

Mads Fischer, JAS Motorsport TCR Project Leader, said: "This is an extremely satisfying way to begin the competitive life of the Honda Civic Type R TCR FL5, designed and built at JAS Motorsport headquarters in Milan. Our first Honda Civic Type R TCR, the FK2, took three races to finish on the podium. The FK7 took two races and now the FL5 has achieved it in its first race. We'd like to thank Restart Racing for their co-operation during the transition from FK7 to FL5 and to congratulate the team and Chris Smiley on delivering this milestone achievement for the Civic and for JAS Motorsport. This is undoubtedly the first of many hundreds of podium finishes for the car and we hope to see it score its first win - and add to the more than 400 victories already achieved by its predecessors since 2015 - very soon."