Standard Honda Civic Type-R Won't Break the 'Ring Record off the Showroom Floor
The Nurburgring is the battleground of performance manufacturers. We see records being broken each year in an ever-growing effort to make faster cars. Yet, recently, we saw Honda clean up the competition in their Type R, claiming the title again for the world's fastest front-wheel drive production car around the 20.8-kilometre track.
However, after digging a little deeper, it turns out that the record-breaking Type R (7 min 44.881 secs) isn't the standard car the world is raving about.
The question now is, what is this special edition and what makes it so special? Immediately the question comes down to a selection of possibilities, the first being whether this unit has more power, the second being the vehicle's weight, and lastly, whether the OEM used aftermarket tyres.
Immediately upon investigating, the record-setting unit was running Michelin Cups 2, which is a considerably stickier compound than the Pilot Sport 4s, which comes standard on the vehicle. However, the Cup 2s are a factory option in other nations and were the tyres of choice for the production record last month. So clearly, that plays a role in the blistering time, but tyres aren't the only factor when marketing a special edition.
So, was this car more powerful than the model we received in South Africa? As it turns out, no. The power unit is the same 2.0 litre 4-cylinder powering the standard Type R, with the same 235 kW and 450 Nm. Fortunately, more power isn't the only thing that makes a car faster since weight is equally important. As it turns out, the record-breaking Special Edition type R is quite a bit lighter.
Losing weight in a car could come from various solutions; the car could have no sound deadening, rear seats, carpets, or air-conditioning. This particular Type R's diet includes removing the aircon, parking sensors, cargo nets, tonneau cover and navigation software. Honda also stripped the electric components from the side mirrors and rear-view mirror dimmers. Replacing the electric motors and parts with manual switches and toggles. It is unclear just how much weight is saved by these changes, but it's clear that these weight changes shaved a few seconds off of the lap time.
In case you are wondering, this special edition has been named Honda Civic Type R S Grade. And unfortunately, they are few and far between. These models are only sold in left-hand drive and only for the European market. So, unfortunately, this side of the world will only get the full-spec Type R with Pilot Sport 4s.
With that being said, the Type R is a spectacular car. We recently spent some time with it, read about it here, and I am incredibly impressed with how this car performs. In fact, I have already placed my money on the Type R being our Speed Week winner for 2023, but only time will tell.