Add another lap record to the mighty Japanese hot hatch

The Honda Civic Type R continues to set benchmarks after posting a front-wheel-drive production car lap record at Spa Francorchamps. The hot hatch monster recorded a scintillating lap time of 2:53.72 at one of the world’s most famous race tracks, doing so with the help of Super GT driver and LMP2 champion Bertrand Baguette.

The Honda Civic Type R is Trashing Europe's Best Racetracks
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The hot hatch monster recorded a scintillating lap time of 2:53.72 at one of the world’s most famous race tracks

The Honda Civic Type R isn’t messing around. Its recent conquest of the Spa Francorchamps race track is the latest in a series of track attack blitzes the hot hatch has embarked on since it broke the same front-wheel-drive production car lap record at the famed Nurburgring. Remember that? Remember when the Civic Type R turned in a lap time of 7:43.08, the fastest lap time among FWD production cars?

Well, it seems that the Civic Type R didn’t just celebrate its Nurburgring triumph in a traditional way. Instead, it plotted a plan to go to other race tracks and set lap records there. It accomplished a similar feat last month when it went to the Magny-Cours circuit in France and posted a lap time of 2:01.51, which also happened to be a lap record.

From there, it was Spa, where LMP2 champ Bertrand Baguette took care of business. "For me as a race car driver, it’s clear that Type R is born for the track," he said. "But it also feels just as right on the streets in everyday driving. When I sit in the car, it is very comfortable and the visibility all round is very good."

The Honda Civic Type R is Trashing Europe's Best Racetracks
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According to Honda, there are still plans to tackle other tracks, including Silverstone, Estoril, and a bunch of others.

The track-hopping, record-breaking exploits of the 316-horsepower Civic Type R isn’t done yet. It already has three lap records under its belt, and, according to Honda, there are still plans to tackle other tracks, including Silverstone, Estoril, and a bunch of others. Baguette also isn’t the only racer Honda has tapped to help the Civic Type R achieve world dominance. The Japanese automaker actually planned this through, even creating a team of racers that also includes former F1 world champion Jenson Button.

So Spa is the latest race track to bow down to the Civic Type R. Judging by how the hot hatch has been taking down lap records one after the other, Spa probably won’t be the last, either.

Honda Civic Type R Performance Specifications

Engine Type Turbocharged In-Line 4-Cylinder
Turbocharger Single-Scroll MHI TD04 with Internal Wastegate
Boost Pressure 22.8 psi
Displacement (cc) 1,996
Horsepower (SAE net) 306 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque (SAE net) 295 LB-FT @ 2,500-4,500 RPM
Fuel economy (City/Highway/Combined) (mpg) 22 / 28 / 25
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3,117
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds
Quarter-mile 13.5 seconds at 108 mph
Top Speed 169 mph

References

2017 Honda Civic Type R High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.

2016 Honda Civic High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Civic.

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Press release

After setting a lap record at the Magny-Cours GP circuit just last month, the high-performance hatchback has set a new lap record front-wheel drive production lap record of 2mins 53.72secs at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The Type R was piloted by former FIA WEC LMP2 class World Champion, Bertrand Baguette, who is currently racing a Honda NSX-GT in the Super GT series with Nakajima Racing.

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of the longest tracks in the racing seasons of many categories at 7.004km, and features very fast straights and high-speed corners, along with more technical low-speed sections and significant elevation changes. The class-leading acceleration and outright speed of the Civic Type R’s 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine, enabled Baguette to exploit the long straights and accelerate quickly out of the sweeping corners.

Aerodynamic performance was also critical to the lap time, and Civic Type R’s finely-honed design, with a smooth underbody, front air curtain, slim rear wing and vortex generators contributed to superior levels of high-speed stability. In the car’s +R mode, the Adaptive Damper System produces a firm and flat ride ideal for track driving, enabling more speed to be carried through Spa-Francorchamps’ famous Eau Rouge and Kemmel Straight sections.

Speaking about the Type R and the way it handles, Bertrand Baguette said: “With a front-wheel drive usually you always expect understeer, but this car is so balanced. Straight away you get a lot of confidence as it gives you a lot of feedback through the steering wheel, especially in +R mode. The chassis is very rigid, the rear is very stable and front is biting really well to give you a lot of front grip. The aero package really helps the car feel planted at high speed, and it’s amazing the level of traction.

“For me as a race car driver, it’s clear that Type R is born for the track, but it also feels just as right on the streets in everyday driving. When I sit in the car, it is very comfortable and the visibility all round is very good.”

Honda set the original benchmark time at Spa-Francorchamps during a similar challenge in 2016, using the previous-generation Civic Type R. It also claimed record lap times at Silverstone, Estoril, and the Hungaroring. The 2018 edition of the challenge will revisit these three tracks through the summer.

Other drivers confirmed for the remaining Type R Challenge 2018 circuit record attempts include former Formula 1 World Champion and current NSX Super GT driver Jenson Button (UK), WTCR driver Tiago Monteiro (Portugal) and BTCC legend Matt Neal (UK).

The new benchmark time for the Spa-Francorchamps circuit is the third lap record to be claimed by the new Honda Civic Type R. In April 2017, a production development car became the fastest front-wheel drive production car ever around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with a lap time of 7mins 43.8secs. Last month WTCR driver, Esteban Guerrieri, set a new 2mins 01.51secs lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Magny-Cours GP circuit in France, as part of the Type R Challenge.

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. The latest car to sport the famous ‘red H’ was part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic’s development programme – 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. It features a lightweight, highly rigid bodyshell, low centre of gravity, and sophisticated dual-axis strut front suspension system, which reduces torque steer and enhances on-the-limit cornering.

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