This shaves a significant 5.41sec from the previous record holder, the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S, and makes the new Type R 6.8sec faster around the ‘Ring than its predecessor.
The new lap record holder is described by Honda as being a development model with technical specifications representative of the final car. Like the production car, it uses a 316bhp and 295lb ft VTEC turbocharged 2.0-litre engine.
The latest model’s six-speed manual gearbox also has shorter gear ratios for more urgent performance, and the car weighs 16kg less than its predecessor, at 1366kg. No straight-line performance figures have been revealed yet, but the car will almost certainly undercut the 5.7sec 0-62mph time of the previous one.
Honda’s 10th-generation Civic structure has upped the torsional rigidity of the Type R by 16%. It also uses new multi-link rear suspension for improved stability and has a bodyshape that is claimed to offer a best-in-class performance balance for lift and drag.
Honda set the new ‘Ring record during the final phase of testing for the model, on a dry track with “optimum ambient temperature for the best tyre and powertrain performance”. The car’s only modification was a 'floating' roll cage that Honda said offered no improvements to rigidity. To compensate for the cage’s weight, the infotainment system and rear seats were removed.
The lead chassis engineer for the new Civic Type R, Ryuichi Kijima, said: “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.“
Kijima explained that this allowed drivers to attack apexes with more pace. “Drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 93mph," he said. "Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 6mph higher [than the previous car].”