The VW Golf GTI Clubsport S has been dethroned.
Back in May 2015, the previous-generation Honda Civic Type R established a new record for the fastest front-wheel-drive production car around the Nürburgring with a lap time of 7:50.63. About a year later, Volkswagen managed to grab the crown with the GTI Clubsport S after crossing the finish line in 7:49.21. Several months ago, VW was back at the ‘Ring with the very same model to further improve its own record and do a lap of the Green Hell in 7:47.19. Now, Honda is back with a vengeance.
On April 3rd, the new Civic Type R performed a “time-attack attempt” as Honda likes to call it and took down the record with a time of 7 minutes and 43.8 seconds, thus improving the Golf GTI Clubsport S’ record by more than three seconds. At the same time, it’s almost seven seconds faster than its predecessor. As the lap record happened during a late stage of the model's development, Honda has to add the caveat that it was set using a development car.
For safety reasons, the vehicle used during the record-breaking run had a roll cage, but Honda mentions “its presence did not provide any additional rigidity to the body frame.” To offset the extra weight, the engineers took out the rear seats and the infotainment system. The company goes on to specify the Civic Type R had “legal track-focused tires” and that it was “technically representative of production specification.”
As a refresher, the latest and greatest Civic Type R is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged gasoline engine with 306hp and a meaty 295lb ft of torque. Output is channelled to the front wheels (obviously!) through an updated six-speed manual transmission featuring lower gear ratios than before to boost acceleration.
Honda will kick off production of its high-performance compact hatchback this summer at its factory in Swindon from where the Civic Type R is going to be exported all over the world, including North America for the first time ever.
Bear in mind the Civic Type R’s new record might be in danger already considering Renault will introduce later this year the Megane RS, yet another car obsessed with ‘Ring lap times.
Gallery: Honda Civic Type R takes down Nurburgring lap record for a FWD car
2017 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R SETS NEW FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE LAP RECORD AT NÜRBURGRING
- Time-attack attempt at Nürburgring sets time of 7min 43.8sec
- All-new Civic Type R’s engine produces 320 PS and 400Nm of torque
- Advanced aerodynamics deliver best-in-class balance between lift and drag
- New Civic Type R to be built in Swindon, UK; European sales start in summer 2017
- Lap time achieved in development car with technical specifications representative of the final production car
Following the production model’s debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Honda Civic Type R has set a new benchmark lap time for front-wheel drive cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. On 3 April 2017, a development car lapped the world-famous circuit in 7 minutes 43.8 seconds.
The lap time was achieved during the final phase of the model’s testing regime, on a dry track with an optimum ambient temperature for the best tyre and powertrain performance. The new time represents an improvement of nearly seven seconds compared to the model’s predecessor.
The new Civic Type R was part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic’s development programme – the largest in Honda’s history – and was engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment, both on road and on the race track.
Several factors contributed to the new Civic Type R’s new benchmark time at the Nordschleife. At its heart is the optimised and refined 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine, producing 320 PS and 400Nm of torque. New lower gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission further improve the car’s acceleration, while the new Type R‘s comprehensive aerodynamic package delivers outstanding high-speed stability, with a best-in-class balance between lift and drag.
The high-rigidity body frame of the all-new Civic Type R is 16kg lighter than the previous model’s, with a torsional stiffness improvement of 38%, which provides significant benefits to steering response and cornering stability. New multi-link rear suspension 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.
Ryuichi Kijima is the lead chassis engineer for the Honda Civic Type R. He explains where the all-new model shows the most significant improvements around the Nürburgring compared to the previous generation car.
“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 optimised aerodynamics that improves stability, ” said Kijima-san. “For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h. Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10 km/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 to achieve a much quicker lap time.”
The development car that achieved the lap time was technically representative of production specification. A full floating roll cage was installed for safety reasons, but its presence did not provide any additional rigidity to the body frame. The extra weight of the cage was compensated for by the temporary removal of the infotainment system and rear seats. The car was using road legal track-focused tyres.
Production of the new Civic Type R for European customers will begin in summer 2017 at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) in Swindon – the global manufacturing hub for the tenth generation Civic hatchback. The Type R will be exported across Europe and to other markets around the world, including Japan and the US. Its arrival in North America will mark the first time that any Honda-badged Type R has been officially sold there.