2023 Honda Civic Type R Smashes Nurburgring Lap Record Just Like Its Predecessor

  • Apr 20, 2023
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The eleventh-generation Civic Type R managed to lap the full racing circuit in seven minutes, 44.881 seconds, and here’s how

  • New Civic Type R has set the lap record for the fastest production front-wheel-drive (FWD) car at the Nurburgring in Germany. 

  • Its predecessor had set the same record back in 2017, later broken by the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R in 2019. 

  • Globally, the Honda Civic is in its eleventh generation (aka FL5). 

  • The Civic Type R is its sporty version, powered by a 330PS 2-litre turbo-petrol engine. 

In what could be a dying tradition (at least for ICE models), the Honda Civic Type R has set a new record for production front-wheel-drive (FWD) cars at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. The racetrack in Germany is a proving ground for carmakers, who put their best drivers behind the wheel of their sportiest models to test the cars’ performance. 

 
 
 
 
 
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The eleventh-gen Civic Type R (aka, the FL5) achieved a full lap of the 20.8km-long racing circuit in 7 minutes and 44.881 seconds. It beat the previous record by nearly half a second, set in 2019 by the truly bonkers Renault Megane RS Trophy-R. Before that, the tenth-gen 2017 Civic Type R (aka, the FK8) held the record. 

What makes the new Civic Type R so fast? 

The Civic Type R is based on the eleventh-gen Civic sedan, but gets a slew of hardware and software changes that enhance its performance and, importantly for Honda, its handling and driveability. 

It has functional aerodynamic components including the front splitter and massive rear spoiler. In addition, it has two-piece brake discs that provide better cooling than solid discs and, as a result, more consistent performance on the track. 

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The cherry on the cake is the 2-litre, VTEC turbo-petrol engine that’s tuned for 330PS and 420Nm, 20PS higher than the previous FK8 Civic Type R. It’s paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox and has enough poke to propel the hot hatchback from nought to 100kmph in 5.4 seconds. 

But getting the fastest lap time on the racetrack isn’t just about speed and power. For this record, the Civic Type R was driving on specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Connect tyres instead of the standard tyre available on the hatchback (Michelin Pilot Sport 4S). According to the carmaker, “The Michelin Pilot Sport CUP 2 Connect further enhances the circuit performance of the vehicle, improves dry grip performance and realizes well-balanced handling.” 

Before its Nurburgring achievement, the Honda Civic Type R had also bagged the fastest FWD car record at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan. Previously, two earlier generations of the Civic Type R have held the same record at the Nurburgring, set in 2015 and 2017. 

Utility of a Nurburgring Record 

 

“Six years after the lap record was set by the previous-generation Civic Type R (FK8), we reached this new dimension as a result of all of the passions we poured in and all the advancements we made for this Type R model. Finally, our wish to share this title with all Type R fans all around the world came true. We sincerely hope that all current and prospective owners of the Type R will enjoy and love their vehicle with the pride we share with you.” – Hideki Kakinuma, Civic Type R Development Leader, Honda. 

Global automakers have been using lap records at iconic racetracks, especially the Nurburgring, as a marketing tool for their sportiest models for many years now. These souped-up models that include stalwarts such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R, continue to be popular among well-heeled enthusiasts in overseas markets. 

However, while sporty models get usable power and dynamics, their bespoke modifications might make them less practical for everyday driving in some conditions. For example, a stiffer suspension setup is generally quite stiff and harsh for a potholed road. Similarly, a lower ride height is a boon for handling, but it makes the car more susceptible to scrapes and underbody damage in real-world road conditions. It’s a similar story with low-profile tyres as well which affect the car’s ride and are more susceptible to damage from potholes or cracks on the road. 

We still hail the Honda Civic Type R’s record as a sort of victory lap for ICE cars before electrification completely transforms our driving experience, and likely, the lap records as well. Cars will continue to get faster, but this eleventh-gen Civic just might be the last fully-ICE turbo-petrol Type R hot hatchback of its kind. And that’s still special. 

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