Honda‘s divisive new Civic Type R (FK8) is the latest in a long line of performance hatches that have been able to punch above their weight. Its predecessors have always possessed an inherent balance and agility, which, when coupled with a lightweight chassis and a high-revving, naturally-aspirated engine, produce a driving experience any racer will appreciate.
The astute among you will be sure to point out the radical departure the latest version of the Civic Type R has taken from its traditional makeup. Now, the turbocharged engine and more weight make the plusher, torquier, and more sophisticated Type R a new machine—as well as a conflicting car for the traditionalist. It even has electric steering, and that makes it a complicated car to understand.
Despite its foibles, the new Type R is still an involving sports car. Thanks to a mechanical limited-slip differential, a dual-axis strut front suspension setup, with a fully-independent, multi-link suspension setup in the rear, the driver gets to enjoy enviable dynamics, fantastic traction, no torque-steer, and a confidence-inspiring setup. Still, there are plenty who want to see what the manga-styled Civic is capable of with a little aftermarket tweaking.
Bringing in the Big Guns
Spoon is a name synonymous with Honda performance, and their tuned Civics are renowned for their agility. When they wanted to modify their own FK8 Civic, they called in Daijiro Yoshihara and Eibach. The list of modifications with this particular car is short, and the intention is to show just what the Civic Type R will do with the mildest tuning package within the price range of most enthusiasts.
Included in this short list are a set of Titan 7-TS5 wheels, Yokohama Advan A052 tires, along with chassis braces, a complete Rigid Collar set, and a center-exit straightpipe all from Spoon. The Eibach Pro-Plus Kit, which includes performance springs and swaybars, round out the modifications.
Eibach’s Pro-Plus Kit offers a progressive spring rate for comfortable and compliant ride at slower speeds, while providing the body control as speeds increase by lowering the center of gravity and improving the stance, dropping the ride height 0.8-inch. It’s also been tuned with the factory magnetic shocks in mind, so it still complements the three factory driving modes. Therefore, it won’t compromise ride quality when comfort is demanded.
Further reducing roll and forcing the rear tires to play a larger role in the cornering process, the Eibach rear stabilizer bar was the last of the additions—and the one which made the greatest change. With the stabilizer bar in place, Yoshihara was able to mitigate understeer and keep the car rotating in the right direction through Buttonwillow‘s long, high-speed corners which test the front axle’s limitations.
Prior to installation of the 22mm tubular bar, Yoshihara “was hovering around the 2:00:00 range. We installed the bar, made some additional tire pressure adjustments, and Friday morning is when he ran the 1:58,” noted Eibach’s Head of Marketing, Mark Krumme. With the asphalt at its most adhesive, Yoshihara managed to snag a supercar-challenging 1:58.361 in the Limited Front-Wheel Drive class at Super Lap Battle 2017; proving the FK8 Civic is just as sharp as it’s ever been, as well as one that responds beautifully to minimal modifications.