Honda’s upcoming Civic Type R hot hatch is now the quickest front-wheel drive round the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife with a lap time of 7:43.80 just over five seconds faster than the previous Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S.
And now this is where it all gets a bit silly. Honda completed the lap in a pre-production vehicle, but says the lap time is indicative of the finished Civic Type R as it was “achieved during the final phase of the model’s testing regime” on a dry track with perfect conditions.
Like the production version, the car employs a turbocharged 2.0 liter VTEC four-cylinder engine producing 235 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque, and was run using undisclosed road regal, track-focused tyres.
However, changes to the record-holding car include a floating roll cage which “did not provide any additional rigidity to the body frame” with the weight disadvantage offset by the removal of the multimedia system and rear seats.
Almost seven seconds faster around the same track than the previous-generation Civic Type R – which utilizes the same (K20C1) engine rated at 228 kW and held the record in 2014 – Honda has fitted the new car with lower gear ratios for improved acceleration, a new aerodynamic package to reduce lift and drag, a stiffer body frame to improve torsional rigidity (by 38 percent), and shaved 16 kg from overall weight. Hardly a standard showroom floor model.
Honda has also installed a new multi-link rear suspension which, according the Japanese brand, “enhances stability under braking and reduces the total roll movement of the car, enabling later braking into corners and helping to achieve higher cornering speeds during the lap.”
Honda Civic Type R lead chassis engineer Ryuichi Kijima also cited the wider track and tyres and longer wheelbase as reasons to the Civic Type R’s quicker pace.
“The cornering speed achieved in the new Type R is higher because the car features a wider track and tyres, a longer wheelbase, new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimized aerodynamics that improves stability,” he said.
“For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150km/h. Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10km/h higher due to the new Type R’s excellent stability. So, with improved cornering performance, we can increase the speed throughout the lap, helping the new Type R achieve a much quicker lap time.”
The lap record makes the new Civic Type R faster than the BMW M4 (7:52), Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (7:47), Pagani Zonda S (7:44) and almost as quick as the Porsche Cayman GT4 (7:42).
This should all be taken “cum grano salis” as the car is not standard and we do not know what other factors were experienced in setting times, and were the drivers of the same ability?
All that you can get as the take-away message is that the new Honda is fast. End of story. Ignore the hype.