By Barry Green
Honda is aiming to reinforce the class-leading status of the award-winning Civic Type R by using a squad of racing stars to set new lap time benchmarks at iconic European racetracks.
Although the complete driver line-up is still to be finalised, Honda has confirmed that former Formula 1 World Champion and current NSX Super GT driver Jenson Button (UK) will take part in the challenge.
WTCR drivers Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) and NSX Super GT star Bertrand Baguette (Belgium) will join Jenson for the challenge.
A similar challenge in 2016 saw benchmark lap times set at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Estoril and Hungaroring using the previous-generation Civic Type R. The drivers included racers from the British and World Touring Car Championships.
For the 2018 edition, Honda will aim to exceed the times set at Silverstone (UK), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) and Estoril (Portugal) in 2016, with further tracks to be announced.
The new Honda Civic Type R retains the heritage of Honda’s high-performance hatchback bloodline and is the fastest accelerating and quickest car in its class in Europe.
The latest car to sport the famous ‘red H’ was part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic’s development program – the largest in Honda’s history – and was engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment, both on road and on the race track.
With an Adaptive Damper System, the car has the poise and comfort for the daily commute but delivers track-honed dynamics when required.
There’s a choice of three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and +R – which at the touch of a button, automatically retunes the suspension, throttle and steering settings for maximum performance.
The Civic Type R features a lightweight, highly rigid bodyshell, low centre of gravity, and sophisticated dual-axis strut front suspension system, which is aimed at reducing torque steer and enhancing on-the-limit cornering.
Powered by a 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine, the new Honda Civic Type R offers a peak power output in Australian tune of 228kW at 6500rpm, and peak torque of 400Nm from 2500-4500rpm. In Europe, the car has a top speed of 272 km/h and 0-100 km/h is achieved in 5.7 seconds.
In April 2017, a production development car became the fastest front-wheel drive production car ever around the Nürburgring Nordschleife (pictured), with a lap time of 7min 43.8sec.
For our road test of the new Civic Type R, see the February/March issue of The Road Ahead magazine.