The new Civic Type R will ‘break the front-wheel-drive lap record at the Nürburgring’, when it is launched in 2015, according to Yoshiharu Yamamoto, CEO of Honda’s Research and Development Centre.
The record is currently held by a 265bhp Renault Mégane RS Trophy driven by company driver Laurent Hurgon, who lapped the Nordschleife in 8 minutes and 7.97 seconds last year.
The new Civic Type R will also break with decades of Honda engineering tradition by adopting a small-capacity turbocharged engine, rather than one of the company’s signature high-revving, normally aspirated, units.
Honda sources told Autocar that the new engine would have ‘more than 260bhp’. Honda engineering sources said that, at this early stage, ‘some consideration’ was being given to equipping the Type-R with rear-wheel steering, an old Honda technology that the company is keen to revive in updated form.
The 1.6-litre HR412E turbocharged engine used in the new WTCC Civic race car is said to be providing inspiration for the Type-R engine. A single Civic WTCC car has entered the last three rounds of the 2012 global series, but Honda will compete in the whole of the 2013 series with two cars.
According to Honda sources, the WTCC series matches the development period of the new Civic Type-R, allowing direct race experience to influence the car’s engineering. The new Type-R will arrive at the same time as the whole Civic line-up is given a mid-life facelift.
Honda is also experimenting with a new three-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol engine, a prototype of which was shown at the same technology exposition used to announce the new Type R. Although no hard information about the engine was forthcoming, sources say it will be able to fit in both the Jazz and the European Civic and must be a good bet to be an option for the 2015-model Civic facelift.