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.