Breaking news: 2017 Honda Civic Type R sets new lap record at Nürburgring
Following its loud and proud debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Honda Civic Type R is making yet more headlines – this time by setting a new front-wheel-drive lap record at the world-famous Nürburgring circuit. The time: 7 minutes, 43.8 seconds – almost seven seconds faster than its predecessor.
The new Civic Type R is part of the brand-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 off and on the track.
Several factors contributed to the Type R’s record-breaking success at the Nordschleife: the optimised and refined 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine, producing 320 PS and 400 Nm of torque; new lower gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission, which further improve the car’s acceleration; and a new aerodynamic package that delivers high-speed stability and a best-in-class balance between lift and drag.
Weight played a factor, too. The high-rigidity body frame of the all-new 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 also enhances stability when 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. Translation: less weight, more control.
The lead chassis engineer for the Honda Civic Type R, Ryuichi Kijima, details the car’s improvements in greater detail: “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 improve stability,” he said. “For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h. Even at this medium-speed corner, the Type R’s speed is around 10 km/h higher due to its 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 record-breaking development car was technically representative of production specification with one exception: a full floating roll cage was installed for safety. However, its presence didn’t add any additional rigidity to the body frame, and the extra weight of the cage was compensated for by the temporary removal of the infotainment system and rear seats. The car was also using road-legal, track-focussed tyres; not race tyres. Crazy.
Production of the new Civic Type R will begin this summer at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) in Swindon – the global manufacturing hub for the tenth-generation Civic hatchback.