Nurburg, Germany – What you see here is a development mule, a Beta version of the new Honda Civic Type R, revealed to the public at the Geneva motor show a couple months ago.
It has set what Honda is claiming as a new lap record for front-wheel drive cars on the infamous Nordschleife at the Nurburgring – 7m43.8s. That’s right, seven and three-quarter minutes to cover 20km of the longest, twistiest, most difficult circuit in Europe.
Mechanically it’s identical to the production version, which will begin coming off the line at the Honda plant in Swindon, Wiltshire, in mid-2017, with its revised two-litre V-Tec turbopetrol four rated for 235kW (7kW up from the previous Type R) and 400Nm, and shorter ratios on the lower gears in the six-speed manual transmission for improved acceleration.
The body-shell is also to production spec, 16kg lighter and 38 percent stiffer than its predecessor - it’s way too late in the development cycle to make changes in the tooling. The wheelbase is longer, the track (and the specified tyre sizes) wider than the previous-generation Type R, while a new multi-link rear suspension reduces body roll going into corners.
The Type R team fitted a floating roll cage for safety, took out the infotainment system and the rear seats to keep all-up weight close to standard, and fitted the stickiest street-legal tyres they could get.
Then they waited for the perfect morning; watch the result below.