It had to happen, Honda showed its intent with the unveil of the new Civic Type R In Geneva last month, the question was, not if, but when would they have a crack at the front-wheel drive Nurburgring record.
The previous holder was the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S, the Type R managed to best this by some three seconds with a formidable 7 minutes 43.8-second lap time. Remember that the Clubsport S whilst a stunning car, it is a limited run special with no back seats, whereas the Type R is normally a fully functional five-seater.
Honda have stated that the car that completed the record run is a development car that described as having “technical specifications representative of the final production car”. Some safety additions were made to complete the lap as well, a roll cage was fitted (good idea), given the harshness of the Nurburgring, it makes sense. Honda insists though that this was just a safety aspect and that it made no difference to the car whatsoever in terms of chassis stiffness.
Not As Standard As You Think
Also, to compensate for the additional weight the back seats and infotainment were binned, some rival car makers may cry foul of this but it does make sense that this lap version would have the same kerbweight as a factory spec car.
Something else that has put carmakers into a war of words before as well, tyre choice, the factory cars are to be shod with Conti Sport Contact 6s, whereas the lap record car was running Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s which has yet to be confirmed as an option for the factory model.
Regardless of these minor foibles, the fact is that the new Type R was almost 7 seconds quicker than the previous car, this is a huge achievement when you consider that there is only a 10bhp power bump between the generations. This time gap is most likely down to a mix of the mass of new aero updates for the car, and the all-new multilink suspension set-up along with the vast increase in chassis stiffness over the old car.
Whilst Nurburgring records don’t really mean a great deal for driving in the real world, it would appear that Honda has done a fantastic job of making the new Type R insanely quick. I cannot wait to get a first drive in one.