By Steve & Tamami Laser
While Honda is on the fast track to developing a lineup of new electrified vehicles, it’s comforting to know that its expertise with gasoline powerplants continues to set new records.
For the second time in two years, the Civic Type R set a new front-wheel-drive lap record at the famed Suzuka Circuit in Japan*. While completing final performance testing, the new 2023 Type R lapped the 3.6-mile (5.8km) track in 2 minutes 23.120 seconds.** That’s 0.873 seconds quicker than its predecessor, the 2021 Type R Limited Edition, achieved in Feb. 2020.
“We develop Type R thinking it represents Honda Spirit,” said Hideki Kakinuma, Civic Type R development leader. “There’s a beauty and an art in bringing a vehicle to the ultimate level. Connecting the past to the future, the Type R is truly the car Honda has wanted to create.”
“I believe Type R’s only rival is Type R,” said Yuya Goto, Civic Type R chassis project leader. “We have a strong sense of responsibility to fulfill and go beyond expectations and excite and inspire people. We want to make faster cars. We want to make better products. So we keep working harder toward our goals.”
The latest Type R follows Honda’s long tradition of high-performance models that are inspired by the spirit of racing. Honda plans to officially unveil the next generation Type R this summer.
Suzuka Circuit Turns 60
Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Suzuka has been an important test bed for developing Honda’s performance vehicles and engines since 1962.
The track was built at the urging of company founder and president, Soichiro Honda, who said, “Automobiles cannot be improved if they are not put through their paces on the racing circuit.” He is shown above with the Honda RA270 prototype F1 car in Feb. 1964.
Suzuka Circuit has hosted countless competitive events over the years, including motorcycle and automobile races, the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka 8 hours, Super Taikyu, Super GT, endurance racing, road racing championships and many more.
Programs are also held at Suzuka for vehicle owners and driving enthusiasts. The Honda Sports Driving Meeting gives participants the chance to experience the joy of operating sporty cars in a safe environment while fine-tuning their driving skills.
The Civic Type R Meeting, held earlier this year, included classroom sessions with pro drivers, braking and handling lessons on slippery roads in the Honda Traffic Education Center, practice runs on the short course, and finally, driving on the international racing course.
In addition to the track facilities, Suzuka Circuit is a full Theme Park of Mobility. A variety of attractions and activities includes Suzuka Circuit Park (an amusement park), Racing Theater, Traffic Education Center, Restaurant S-PLAZA, Family Camp, and Suzuka Circuit Hotel.
* Honda internal research (as of April 2022).
** Honda internal measurement
Note: The record-braking lap was achieved by a Type R final development car prior to the production model
News sources and photos courtesy of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Honda Motor Europe Ltd., and American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Story (commentary) © 2022 CarNichiWa.com