The Honda Civic Type R has retaken the Nürburgring front-wheel-drive crown, with the latest FL5 being driven to a blistering 7:44.881 time. That pips the previous record-holder, Renault Sport’s spectacularly fast (and expensive) Megané Trophy R, which did the ‘Ring in 7:45.389 in 2019. The catch? It’s not actually a Type R you or I can buy right now, with Honda referring to it slyly in the small print as the Type R ’S Grade’, which will be available to order in European Left-Hand Drive markets only.
Video: New Civic Type R sets FWD Nürburgring record
What does ’S Grade’ mean? Well, for now, we only know the ‘Ring car was wearing Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Connect tyres, which as far as we are aware are not a dealer-fit option. Indeed Honda says they “will be available to order through Mechelin directly”.
Of course, the FL5 is only a development of its FK8 predecessor underneath, with broadly the same engine and chassis. So what gives? Honda reckons the added pace comes from the extra downforce, the wider track, wider tyres, multi-link rear suspension and the longer wheelbase – little changes over the FK8 that all really add up over a lap of the Green Hell.
Now while this is now the record holder, it is a slower time than the last car set six years ago. The explanation for that of course is that in 2019 what is defined as a full lap was increased to 12.92 miles, making the time longer but still suggesting the car is quicker.
“The Civic Type R was developed under the concept of ‘Ultimate Sport 2.0’, aiming to be the ultimate FWD sports model, instilling confidence and excitement with drivers that resonates in the heart,” explains Hideki Kakinuma, Civic Type R Large Project Leader.
“Since the launch of the Civic TYPE R in 2022, we have received numerous positive response globally, far exceeding our expectations, but there was one more mission that we had to challenge - to be the fastest FWD model on the Nürburgring.
“Six years after the previous generation, we have reached a new dimension in the evolution of the Type R and the passion we put into it. To those who are already an owner of our latest Civic Type R and to those who are expected owners, we truly hope that you will love and enjoy the Civic Type R.”
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