Honda has launched an assault on hot hatch rivals by claiming a new lap record for front-wheel-drive cars at the Nurburgring.
The manufacturer has released footage of the 2017 Civic Type R recording a 7m43.80s time – some 6.83 seconds faster than the previous model that was not sold in the US or Australia.
That’s an incredible lap time. Not only is it faster than rival extreme hot hatches such as the stripped-out Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S and Renault Sport Megane 275 Trophy-R, but the time is quicker than independently recorded efforts for the original Audi R8 V10 and Pagani Zonda.
Part of that time comes from heroic Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres also used by Renault and Volkswagen, and part comes from revisions to the circuit in the wake of a tragic accident that saw a Nissan GT-R GT3 become airborne and fly into a spectator area.
Honda chassis engineer Ryuichi Kijima says the new Type R’s speed is helped by improved stability that gives drivers more confidence in high-speed corners.
“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 improves stability,” he says.
“For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 150 km/h. Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 10 km/h higher due to the new Type R’s 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.”
Unlike rival efforts from Volkswagen and Renault that used special-edition cars sold with no air conditioning or stereo, the Type R’s lap time comes from a series production vehicle. Even so, Honda fitted a roll cage to keep its unnamed test driver safe, removing the test car’s climate control and infotainment system to account for the extra weight of the safety equipment.
The new Type R is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with 235kW and 400Nm outputs. It arrives locally in late 2017.
Top 5: Nurburgring hot hatch times
2017 – Honda Civic Type R – 7m43.80s
2016 – Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S – 7m47.19s
2015 – Honda Civic Type R – 7m50.63s
2014 – Renault Sport Megane 275 Trophy-R – 7m54.36s
2014 – Seat Leon Cupra – 7m58.4s
Watch Honda’s lap here: