They cross the finish line at the same time.

The Honda Civic Type R has been setting front-wheel-drive production vehicle lap records around Europe at circuits like the Hungaroring, Estoril, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, and Magny-Cours. Now, the brand is showing off how its new hot hatch handles a circuit when racing against a Civic Sport and Civic Type R British Touring Car Championship machine around the 1.27-mile Knockhill Circuit in Scotland.

The least potent Civic in this test is the British market's Sport model that has a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing 180 bhp and 177 lb-ft. Three-time BTCC is behind the wheel of the one for this test.

The Type R is the top road-going Civic that is currently available thanks to its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder pumping out 316 bhp and 295 lb-ft in the British market. Jess Hawkins, a British stunt driver and pilot of the Honda Mean Mower at Goodwood, gets behind the wheel of the CTR in this test. 

Civic Type R's latest records:

Finally, the BTCC Civic Type R turns up the performance dial for competition purposes to over 350 bhp and 295 lb-ft. A six-speed sequential gearbox replaces the road car's six-speed manual. Stripping out the machine cuts the fat to 1,280 kg, including the driver, versus the production version's curb weight of 1,414 kg. Current BTTC driver is behind the wheel, here.

Honda staggers releasing the cars away from the start to make sure that they cross the finish at nearly the same time. The lap times tell the real story, though. The Civic Sport requires 1:05.45 seconds to cover the Scottish course; the Type R needs 1:01.34 to complete the track. The BTCC race car wins its 0:55.65 time making the race-prepped machine just over 10 seconds quicker than the Sport and slightly more than 5 seconds better than the Type R.

Spy shots suggest that Honda has an upgraded or refreshed Type R under development that could cut the deficit between the race car. The only obvious exterior changes are tweaks to the front and rear bumper. It's possible the company might be able to extract a few more bhp from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder, too.

Source: HondaVideo via YouTube