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The first image of the new Honda Civic World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) racer has been released, previewing the competition hatchback set to defend its 2013 crown.

Reflecting the new technical regulations introduced for the 2014 WTCC season, the low-slung Honda Civic rendering exudes aggression with pumped wheel arches, larger 18-inch wheels, a sleeker aero package and an extended rear spoiler.

Next year’s racer also comes with a power increase to 280kW from its turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro

Two factory-backed works cars piloted by Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro will challenge for the 2014 world title along with two privateer teams.

Due to kick off in Morocco on April 6, the 2014 season will see newcomer Citroen enter the championship to do battle against Chevrolet and Lada.

A part of the FIA WTCC series since 2012, Honda’s involvement has been instrumental in the development of the “at least” 206kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-four that will power the upcoming fourth-generation Honda Civic Type-R due to launch in early 2015.