Video: 2021 Honda Civic Type R Special Edition Sets Record At Suzuka

Though it shouldn’t really come as a surprise, the latest Honda Civic Type R has further solidified its reputation with a lap record at Japan’s most glamorous circuit. Famous for its spot on the Formula 1 calendar and its figure-eight configuration, Suzuka challenges drivers with heavy braking zones, supremely quick sweepers, and a series of fast esses (0:27-0:49) which demands a very neutral vehicle balance.

In the hands of the gifted Super GT racer Takuya Izawa, the 2021 Civic Type R Special Edition demonstrates all these strengths as it rounds the 3.6-mile circuit in 2:23.993: a record for front-wheel drive production cars. Most notable is the excellent composure in the fast stuff—the minimum speed of 99 miles per hour through 130R (2:05) is something to behold.

All 600 examples of this car will be released in Phoenix Yellow Pearl with black accents.

Some Subtle Suspension Alterations

Much of that speed comes from several critical modifications made to this limited-edition version; only 600 of which will be made. Among those are lighter BBS wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, dampers optimized for the new wheel/tire package, recalibrated steering for finer control and feedback, and further weight reduction of 28.2 pounds through measures such as strategic reduction of sound-deadening materials.

New BBS wheels trim 18 pounds of unsprung weight.

The same 2.0-liter VTEC Turbo engine sends 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential. Thanks in part to the dual axis strut front suspension, there is no torque-steer whatoever. Deploying that power out of hairpins is no simple issue here.

While the latest Civic Type R might be a far cry from the high-revving, pared-down racing cars from the road from the early nineties, the way this new interpretation of the proven formula is unsurprisingly effective. Turbocharged torque, a hint of aerodynamic grip, a benign balance, and traction which rivals that of a four-wheel drive machine makes it capable at tracks like Suzuka. If it can perform well there, a car with these qualities, perhaps with a little adjustment, can likely handle the slower tracks just as well.

 

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About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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