Following the debut of the Honda Civic 'Type R Challenge 2018' car at the Geneva Motor Show, the high-performance hatchback has set a new 2mins 1.51secs lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Magny-Cours GP circuit in France. The Type R was piloted by WTCR driver Esteban Guerrieri, who is contesting the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup in a Honda Civic TCR with Münnich Motorsport.
The Magny-Cours GP circuit is a 4.4km track with a mix of slow hairpins, high-speed chicane sections and long straights. Civic Type R's optimised 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine produces 320 PS and 400Nm of torque, and its muscular performance helped Guerrieri to exploit the character of the track. The car's comprehensive aerodynamic package, with a best-in-class balance between lift and drag, was perfectly suited to the French circuit. In the Civic Type R's +R mode, the Adaptive Damper System produces a firmer, flatter ride and greater agility for high-performance handling.
Speaking about the lap record, Esteban Guerrieri said:
The best thing about the Type R is that it gives you confidence. It's very responsive and gives you good feedback. People call the Type R the ultimate performance hot hatch and we proved today that it really is; the car continues to push the boundaries of what's possible from front wheel drive.
Commenting on the flexibility of the Type R as a road and track car, Guerrieri added:
The beauty is we could use '+R' mode on track but then switch to Comfort mode and drive home.
The benchmark time represents the first success in the Type R Challenge 2018, which will see a team of Honda racing stars attempt to break front-wheel drive production car records at a range of legendary European racetracks in a production specification Honda Civic Type R.
A similar challenge in 2016 saw Honda set benchmark lap times at Estoril, Hungaroring, Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, using the previous-generation Civic Type R. For 2018's endeavour - in addition to the new Magny-Cours record - Honda will aim to exceed the times set at these four circuits.
The driver line-up for the other Type R Challenge 2018 circuit record attempts will include former Formula 1 World Champion and current NSX Super GT driver Jenson Button (UK), WTCR driver Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), NSX Super GT star Bertrand Baguette (Belgium) and BTCC legend Matt Neal (UK).
The new benchmark time for the Magny-Cours circuit is the second 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 7min 43.8sec.
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.