Even before its official reveal, the new Honda Civic Type R is already setting records. The compact five-door model went around the challenging Suzuka circuit in Japan in 2 minutes and 23.120 seconds. For the sake of comparison, the previous-gen model in the hardcore Limited Edition needed 2 minutes and 23.993 seconds to get the job done. It's not a massive improvement, but shaving off nearly one second is still a notable achievement.
In both instances, the feisty hatchback lapped the 3.6-mile (5.8-kilometre) configuration of the race track. Much like its predecessor and previous record-holder Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, the upcoming Civic Type R had a rolling start. It should be noted we're strictly talking about a record for a front-wheel-drive car, one that hit 143.5 mph (231 km/h) at one point during the hot lap.
2023 Honda Civic Type R sets FWD lap record at Suzuka
Curiously, Honda blacked out the instrument cluster, presumably to keep prying eyes from unlocking some juicy details about the car. Much like the Civic Si, the new Type R will be a manual-only affair and should use an evolution of the 2.0-litre petrol engine. Chances are the engineers have managed to unlock a few more ponies from the turbo four-pot compared to the FK8 model and its 316-bhp punch.
Speaking of horsepower, it's worth noting the previous CTR made 316 bhp only in Europe and Japan thanks to higher-octane fuel while other regions had to settle with 10 fewer horses. The new one is expected to be Honda's last ICE-only car on the Old Continent as rumours about going hybrid are likely unfounded.
When the Civic Type R does arrive later this year, Honda will have to worry about a new rival as Toyota is finally launching the long-rumoured GR Corolla. Those who would rather have all-wheel drive can already get the VW Golf R with more power than the previous generation by packing 315 bhp. The next-generation BMW M2 and Nissan Z are also due for a release in 2022, which is shaping up to be a great year for enthusiasts.
The adjacent footage was recorded at the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix venue on March 14, but Honda decided to wait until now to show the revamped CTR in action.