Honda will take the Civic Type R back to the Nürburgring
Can the Limited Edition Type R take back the front-wheel-drive lap time crown?
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
There's a reason why I brought up the
Honda Civic Type R's
Nürburgring lap time when the 2021 Limited Edition debuted on Wednesday. This new Type R's focus is on better handling and lighter weight, so
will definitely be taking it back to the 'Ring to record an official lap time. But the company isn't just doing this to go for the gold.
"We will return to the Nürburgring and we will do a timed lap, but not with the purpose to break the record," Ko Yamamoto, Honda's technical consultant, told me at the Limited Edition's unveiling. Instead, the company will do this to "verify and confirm the improvement level of all those technical measures in a lap time," he said.
Many companies boast about their cars' Nürburgring times, and some of the time, it can feel more like a performance pissing match than anything. But, Yamamoto explained, "The Nürburgring lap time has always been part of the [Type R's] complete development program. This is something we will repeat for our internal verification."
The 2021 Limited Edition boasts a number of improvements, starting with small mechanical tweaks that debuted on the standard 2020 Civic Type R. The Limited Edition takes those one step further with recalibrated steering, sticker Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and up to 70 pounds of weight savings in the European-spec car.
In 2017, the Civic Type R set a new record for front-wheel-drive cars on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, posting a 7-minute, 43.8-second lap time. Last year, however, the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R beat that time by four seconds. But with these performance improvements, Honda thinks it can easily shave some time off its 7:43.8 run.
"If that time happens to be the quickest," Yamamoto said, smiling, "then of course, we won't be silent."
2021 Civic Type R Limited Edition is Honda's new halo car