Your new FWD Nurburgring king: The Honda Civic Type R
The front-wheel-drive Nurburgring record has fallen once again, and this time it didn’t go to a hatch from any of the Volkswagen Automotive Group brands. Instead, the record was smashed by the new 2017 Honda Civic Type R, which posted a 7-minute, 43.8-second time — three seconds better than the reigning champion VW Golf GTI Clubsport S, which posted a time of 7 minutes, 47.2 seconds back in October 2016.
Previous record holders had been shaving off three to four seconds with each new record, which broke through the eight-minute mark only in 2014. With a lap time of 7 minutes, 43.8 seconds, the Type R also broke the record set by the previous-generation Civic Type R, which clocked in a 7-min, 50.6-sec lap in May 2014.
The production Type R is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC engine that churns out 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (in U.S. spec), sending that power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. The car Honda used was a development car said to be representative of European production examples (where it’s tuned to 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque); in exchange for installing a roll cage, Honda ditched the infotainment system and the rear seats. That’s about it, aside from the road-legal-but-track-optimized tires.
“The cornering speed achieved in the new Type R is higher because the car features a wider track and tires, a longer wheelbase, new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimized aerodynamics that improve stability,” said Ryuichi Kijima, lead chassis engineer for the Type R. “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.”
Honda also credited the car’s aerodynamics, touting a best-in-class balance between lift and drag helping the hatch achieve impressive high-speed stability.
If you want one, production starts this summer in the U.K., with worldwide availability scheduled for the fall. In the meantime, keep practicing your ‘Ring laps in your favorite video games to prep for the real thing.