The FK8 Civic Type R is in the news right now after it sensationally lapped the Nurburgring in a little under 7 minutes and 44 seconds (43.8 in fact) which made it the fastest front wheel drive car around the fabled Eifel Mountain racetrack.
The FK8 predecessor FK2 was the original front wheel drive champion around Nurburgring with a then scintillating time of 7:50.6 lap set back in 2014. The only caveat that lap was stark in controversy since it wasn’t entirely standard. According to Hisayuki Yagi that record setting FK2 Type R was a development car “It was a development car; at that time we didn’t have a production car. We applied a roll cage to the car to maintain safety for our test driver. It was mounted so that it would have no effect on the body rigidity; we were curious too and wanted to know what potential the production car had.
“It was important to maintain stock condition. The weight increase of the roll cage was balanced by taking out the rear seats and the air conditioning. The rest is identical to the mass production car, from suspension and tires to engine specification. In theory you should be able to exactly reproduce that lap time.”
The exact same process was applied for the FK8’s lap record attempt – swapping the rear seats for the roll cage, boosting safety but providing no weight penalty. Now considering a modest 10 horsepower increase garnered from the reworked force-fed K20C1 motor, the almost 7 seconds quicker Nurburgring lap seemed well nigh impossible until you factor in the wider tracks, chassis refinements (with minimized torque steer and sportier dynamics) and the Manga slash Anime aero package.
Specifically the chassis enhancements includes revised geometry of the Macpherson strut front suspension while at the rear unique higher rigidity arms gave marked improvements to the independent multi-link setup, along with improved stability under braking and reduced roll, both of which greatly helps to achieve higher cornering speeds. Also the insane aerodynamics with its front splitters, rear diffuser, vortex generators and that triple XL rear wing ensures the FK8 Type R having the best-in-class balance between lift and drag. With a 16 kg lighter high rigidity body compared to the FK2 plus 38% torsional stiffness improvements, the new FK8 Type R also posses significantly better steering response and cornering stability.
The coveted fastest Nurburgring lap has become a resounding albeit controversial testimony relentlessly pursued by top car manufacturers. Rest assured the FK8 Type R’s achievements have been looked upon with envy by Honda’s many detractors, setting the stage for more fireworks in the future around the legendary 14.2 mile 73 turn racetrack.