Five years ago, Honda set a new front-wheel drive Nürburgring record with the FK8 Civic Type R. That car ran a 7:43.8, which stood untested for a year before Renault took the podium with its Megane RS Trophy-R and a 7:40.1 time. Now, Honda’s taken the throne back in a new Type R, with a 7:44.881 lap. Wait, what?
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Yes, you read that right: The new record-setting lap is slower than the old one. That’s not the fault of the Type R itself, but of the track—as of 2019, the rules around what counts as a “lap” changed. The new route is longer, meaning all newly certified record times will be higher.
Yet, even with the newly-lengthened course, the new Civic Type R stomps some major competitors. Cars like the AMG CLA and E 63 S, the Gallardo, and the track-special fifth-generation Camaro Z28 all fall before the little Civic’s record—many of them, even, on the shorter track map.
The Type R that set this Green Hell time was about as stock as it gets, its only modification from factory being a set of dealer-option Cup 2 tires. Having driven the updated Type R on track with those tires, I’m unsurprised that it’s faster than the old one—the car remains immaculately composed through the sort of tight, precarious corners that make up much of the Ring.
The Type R has now set records at Suzuka and the Nürburgring. What comes next? It seems we’ll just have to wait and see.