The smell of burnt rubber and the screeching of tires filled the air as the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga placed another feather in its cap to be chosen as venue for Honda’s first major event for the year, the Civic Type R track day.
Dubbed as the “Civic Type R Track Experience,” Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) organized the day-long track day for Type R owners at the Clark International Speedway last weekend. In attendance were HCPI executives led by president and General Manager Noriyuki Takakura and veteran race car drivers to teach the attendees on how to fully enjoy and maximize their cars safely on an actual racetrack.
George Ramirez and his crew set up driving exercises that consisted of slalom and brake tests, high speed cornering and track lapping drills. “These activities are meant to provide customers with an exhilarating driving experience, to learn on how to tame their cars and for them to experience the performance and handling attributes of the Type R,” said Ramirez.
With 310 bhp on tap, the current version is the most powerful Honda Civic to ever come off the assembly line. Although Honda introduced emotional cars before on local shores like the Civic EG and the Civic SiR, the introduction of the Civic Type R ends a decade long frustration of waiting for this JDM icon. So when HCPI bought in a limited number of Type Rs in the domestic market, all 100 units were snatched up before the day ended. The success of this sales and marketing ploy prompted Takakura to announce that a possible second batch of Type Rs might be realized within the year, to the delight of the crowds in attendance prior to the start of Honda’s historic Type R track day.
Let the games begin
Ramirez organized the participants in batches, with veteran and champion race cardrivers such as Jojo Silverio, Louie and Stefan Ramirez dictating the pace around the speedway.
Hot laps at Clark
The experience left many breathless, as the Type R feels like it can rev forever. The 2.0-liter VTEC turbo engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, which works perfectly with its dual axis suspension set-up with adaptive dampers all around. I won’t bore you with the braking and slalom test experience. What took the cake for all of us were the hot laps around the short course of the speedway.
With “Big Daddy” George Ramirez at the pace car, we all felt like racecar drivers in an instant. The Type R’s interior is very sporty, with well-bolstered seats. Off the line, there is no lag, just a healthy dose of torque as the car propels you like a bullet shot off from the barrel of a gun.
After a familiarization lap, I pulled the trigger and put the car on “Drive R” mode and the Type R transformed itself into a metal beast on wheels. I felt the stiffening of the dampers, quick throttle response, and the steering tightening up a bit for better control of the car. Taking the first fast corner of the speedway felt great as the Type R was well planted in corners, and coming out of it, you depress the pedal and the full might of the 2.0 VTEC turbo engine felt orgasmic. To be honest, that track experience felt like sex on wheels. “We are contemplating on staging another track day, and maybe this could become a regular event for Type R and other Honda owners,” said Sherwin Kuan, Product Development for HCPI.
The Civic Type R has been phenomenally recognized by the local market upon its availability and considered as one of the most sought after and desired performance vehicles today. Last year, the Civic Type R received multiple recognitions from local award giving bodies in the country namely, C! Magazine’s Best Driver’s Car 2017, Car Awards Group Inc. 2017 Best Sport Compact Car, and Top Gear Philippines’ Car of the Year 2017.
“And it is for this reason, that Honda in the Philippines is now highly considering to bring another batch of the Civic Type R in the future.” said Takakura during the special event.
PHOTOS BY DINO RAY V. DIRECTO III