It’s official: Honda has returned to the Nurburgring Nordschleife and reclaimed the FWD hot hatch record.
Many manufacturers have a go at claiming the Nurburgring lap record in various categories, and a fresh benchmark time for front-wheel-drive hot hatches has just been set by the new Honda Civic Type R.
Although we see anything and everything testing on the track, Honda is no stranger to this feat. The previous-generation FK8 Civic Type R set a front-wheel-drive hot hatchback lap record around the ‘Green Hell’ in 2017 with a time of 7 minutes and 48.3 seconds. The new FL5 model managed a time of 7 minutes and 44.8 seconds, adding to its lap record at the Honda-owned Suzuka track in Japan.
To make sure it was eligible for the record-breaking lap, the Civic Type R had to be essentially identical to a model you could buy from any dealer.
Powering the car was the same 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 242kW going through a six-speed manual transmission. And the Civic was fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Connect road tyres, which are available from Honda dealers.
What makes the new lap record even more impressive is that the Nurburgring was effectively expanded from 2019. The straight after turn 13 used to provide the marker for the start of a lap time, but now it’s nearer to turn 13. This means the Nurburgring only certifies cars that have undertaken the 9.652km distance, rather than the old 9.5km version.