Honda’s “race car for the road” Civic Type R has crisscrossed Europe in an effort to set new benchmarks for front-wheel drive production cars at five legendary circuits across Europe. Inspired by the Civic Type R that smashed the front-wheel drive lap time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in May 2014, the Honda team developed this European challenge to assert Type R as the leading front-wheel drive performance hatchback.
The campaign started on a rain soaked day in April at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix. Three-time British Touring Car Championship winner Matt Neal took the wheel to set a time of 2:44.45 (minutes). Not content with this time, Matt and the team returned to the circuit later in the month to set a dry lap time of 2:31.85.
In early May, attention shifted to the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The track, beloved by racers of all nationalities and featuring the famous Eau Rouge section, was taken on by Honda Racing new boy Rob Huff. Huff set a blistering time of 2:56.91.
With two attempts successfully completed, Italy’s historic Monza circuit was the next target. Another member of Honda’s World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) squad, Hungary’s Norbert Michelisz, took the wheel and piloted the car around the famous Parabolica to return a time of 2:15.16.
Momentum was building towards the final session at the Hungaroring, but first a trip to historic Estoril with Tiago Monteiro taking the reins on home turf. However, a nasty crash at the WTCC Race of Germany put the Honda ace out of action. Fellow Portuguese racer and WTCC safety car driver Bruno Correia was drafted in at 24 hours notice. With just one day in the car, Bruno posted a time of 2:4.08.
Finally, the team arrived at the last session in Hungary on June 6. The perfect driver for this mission was once again Norbert Michelisz, following his race win here in 2015 while racing a WTCC Civic Type R for independents Zengõ Motorsport. Over two days, Norbert pushed his production Type R to the limit to set a benchmark of 2:10.85 and wrap up the five-circuit effort.
Philip Ross, senior vice-president of Honda Motor Europe, said, “This challenge secures Civic Type R’s position as the benchmark in the front-wheel drive performance segment. With the support of our touring car stars, it is a fitting testament to the team who engineered and designed it as the ultimate race car for the road.”
Honda Civic Type R
At its launch a year ago, the Honda Civic Type R represented the start of a new performance era for Honda; drawing on the brand’s racing DNA to deliver the pinnacle of the Civic line-up.
A crucial part of a wave of next-generation vehicles from Honda – which will continue this summer with the launch of the all-new NSX – the Type R is a fundamental demonstration of the brand’s pioneering approach to technological innovation.
The Civic Type R boasts a world-first application of Honda’s new 2.0-litre VTEC Turbo engine, aggressive function-led styling, and pioneering new chassis technologies. Together, these features deliver one of the most immersive and rewarding driving experiences in any sector.