Civic Type-R Sets Record At Estoril

BY Azfar Hashim

The new front-wheel drive record with a Honda WTCR driver at the wheel was set in a standard production car with road tyres

Honda has set a new 2 min 01.84 sec record for a front-wheel drive production car in the Civic Type R at the Estoril circuit in Portugal. The 306 bhp high-performance hatchback was driven by Honda WTCR driver, Tiago Monteiro.

The iconic Estoril track is 4.2 km long with two hairpins, a difficult chicane and a very long main straight, which means drivers experience an unusually broad range of speeds over one lap. It therefore rewards cars with a great breadth of ability, that combine fast acceleration with exceptional handling. Speaking about the benchmark time, Tiago Monteiro said, “We came here with a goal to beat the existing lap record set by the previous car but you can never take anything for granted — I mean it’s a lap record so it’s no easy feat. You have to have supreme confidence in the car to attack around Estoril, and the new Type R is just so powerful, smooth and confidence-inspiring. We beat the lap record, smashed the record actually.”

Commenting on the Type R itself, he added: “The Type R is very stable and has very good braking efficiency and an amazing engine so it just feels like you are driving a race car — on the track it’s easy to forget that it’s a proper road car, but then you can drive it home.

The new benchmark time at Estoril is the fourth front-wheel drive lap record set by Honda in 2018. The Civic Type R has also claimed record lap times at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Estoril. So far in 2018, Honda has exceeded the times it set at all of these circuits.

The endeavour mirrored a similar effort by Honda in 2016 with the previous-generation Type R, which set front-wheel drive benchmark times at Estoril, Hungaroring, Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps. The 2018 Type R Challenge followed on from the front-wheel drive production car lap record set by the Civic Type R at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where it clocked a lap time of 7 min 43.8 sec in April 2017.

The latest car to sport the famous ‘red H’ is part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic’s development programme — the largest in Honda’s history — and was newly engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment, both on road and on the race track. It features a lightweight, highly rigid bodyshell, low centre of gravity, and sophisticated dual-axis strut front suspension system, which reduces torque steer and enhances on-the-limit cornering.