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In a variety of tests, the latest Honda Civic Type R is proving to be among the best front-wheel-drive performance cars on the market. To affirm the hot hatch's capabilities once again, Honda's new CTR now holds the the lap record around France's Magny-Cours Grand Prix circuit for front-drive production cars. FIA World Touring Car Cup driver Esteban Guerrieri lapped the 2.73-mile (4.4-kilometer) track in 2:01.51.

The Civic Type R that Guerrieri drove was a production-spec example with road-legal tires. It was in the European tune with 316 horsepower (235 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters of torque), versus the ratings of 306 hp and 295 lb-ft  of the examples in the United States.

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Honda's next goal is to set similar records at four more European circuits: Estoril in Portugal, Hungaroring in Hungary, Silverstone in England, and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The company has quite a talented driver lineup to attempt to set these quick lap times, including former Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button, World Touring Car Cup driver Tiago Monteiro, Super GT racer Bertrand Baguette, and British Touring Car Championship star Matt Neal. 

Even if the these drivers can't take the Civic Type R on record-setting runs, Honda can still tout that the hot hatch is also the fastest front-drive production car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife from a lap in 7:43.8.

Gallery: 2017 Honda Civic Type R: First Drive

The 2018 Civic Type R arrives at dealers in the U.S. later this year, and Honda increases its base price by $605 to $35,595, including $895 destination. The new model year doesn't bring any significant changes, but the hot hatch's cost still undercuts competitors like the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R.

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‘Type R Challenge 2018’ is a go! Honda sets new lap record at Magny-Cours GP circuit in Civic Type R
New front-wheel drive record set on Magny-Cours GP circuit, with a 2mins 1.51secs lap
WTCR driver, Esteban Guerrieri, achieves record lap in standard production car with road tyres
Record further reinforces Civic Type R’s position as a class benchmark
Type R Challenge 2018 aims to break records at 5 legendary European race circuits
Following the debut of the Honda Civic ‘Type R Challenge 2018’ car at the Geneva Motor Show, the high-performance hatchback has set a new 2mins 1.51secs lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Magny-Cours GP circuit in France. The Type R was piloted by WTCR driver Esteban Guerrieri, who is contesting the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup in a Honda Civic TCR with Münnich Motorsport.

The Magny-Cours GP circuit is a 4.4km track with a mix of slow hairpins, high-speed chicane sections and long straights. Civic Type R’s optimised 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine produces 320 PS and 400Nm of torque, and its muscular performance helped Guerrieri to exploit the character of the track. The car’s comprehensive aerodynamic package, with a best-in-class balance between lift and drag, was perfectly suited to the French circuit. In the Civic Type R’s +R mode, the Adaptive Damper System produces a firmer, flatter ride and greater agility for high-performance handling.

Speaking about the lap record, Esteban Guerrieri said: “The best thing about the Type R is that it gives you confidence. It’s very responsive and gives you good feedback. People call the Type R the ultimate performance hot hatch and we proved today that it really is; the car continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible from front wheel drive.”

Commenting on the flexibility of the Type R as a road and track car, Guerrieri added, “The beauty is we could use ‘+R mode on track but then switch to Comfort mode and drive home.”

The benchmark time represents the first success in the Type R Challenge 2018, which will see a team of Honda racing stars attempt to break front-wheel drive production car records at a range of legendary European racetracks in a production specification Honda Civic Type R.

A similar challenge in 2016 saw Honda set benchmark lap times at Estoril, Hungaroring, Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, using the previous-generation Civic Type R. For 2018’s endeavour – in addition to the new Magny-Cours record – Honda will aim to exceed the times set at these four circuits.

The driver line-up for the other Type R Challenge 2018 circuit record attempts will include former Formula 1 World Champion and current NSX Super GT driver Jenson Button (UK), WTCR driver Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), NSX Super GT star Bertrand Baguette (Belgium) and BTCC legend Matt Neal (UK).

The new benchmark time for the Magny-Cours circuit is the second lap record to be claimed by the new Honda Civic Type R. In April 2017, a production development car became the fastest front-wheel drive production car ever around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with a lap time of 7min 43.8sec.

The new Honda Civic Type R retains the heritage of Honda’s high-performance hatchback bloodline and is the fastest accelerating and quickest car in its class. The latest car to sport the famous ‘red H’ was part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic’s development programme – the largest in Honda’s history – and was 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.

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