The new Honda Civic Type R has taken to the company’s Tochigi test track with WTCC driver Gabriele Tarquini at the wheel as part of its testing programme.

The programme will see the Type R tested throughout Europe and Japan before its launch in 2015.

The new Civic Type R will be the first Honda to be powered by one of a range of new VTEC Turbo engines.

The Type R will use a new 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo engine with an expected output in excess of 280PS.

Other engines in the range will include a 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder, both with VTEC, direct-injection and turbochargers.

At the Tochigi test track, Tarquini said this of the new Civic Type R: “The car and the characteristics of the car were fantastic. I was really impressed by the power and the torque of the engine but also by the set-up they achieved.  The car is very pointed on the front and very fast to change direction. This car is very close to my racing car and you can feel very well the DNA of Type R.”