BTCC champ Matt Neal was behind the wheel for the attempt.
Porsche might be claiming headlines at the Nürburgring, but Honda’s Civic Type R hot hatch has quietly been busy racking up its own records, adding to its recent Magny-Cours and Spa-Francorchamps best times with a new record at Silverstone.
With three-time British Touring Car Championship winner Matt Neal behind the wheel, the Type R set a new record for a front-wheel-driven production car at 2:31.320, beating the previous best time, which was held by the last-generation Type R.
Neal’s turn around the 3.66-mile track that will be used by F1 cars this weekend pales against Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying time from 2017, which he managed to get out of the way in 1:26.600 – almost enough time to get round twice while the Honda’s on its way. Of course, the Honda is a much cheaper option, with Civic Type R starting at $34,700 on the road.
Speaking about his lap record, Matt Neal said: "Where I found the real advantage of the Type R was in the high-speed corners – the stability which is a combination of the aero and the new advanced suspension system. Into corners like Copse and Stowe at the end of the Hangar straight, you can carry big entry speed with supreme confidence."
The new benchmark time for the Silverstone circuit is the fourth 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, with a lap time of 7:43.800.
Following that, the Type R Challenge 2018 started with WTCR driver, Esteban Guerrieri, setting a new 2:01.510 lap record for a front-wheel-drive production car at the Magny-Cours GP circuit in France, before Bertrand Baguette managed a 2:53.720 time in the same car at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
There are more attempts planned by Honda, including efforts from 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button and former Jordan F1 driver Tiago Monteiro.
Gallery: Honda Civic Type R record at Silverstone
Three in three for Type R: British Touring Car champion, Matt Neal, takes third lap record of ‘Type R Challenge 2018’ at Silverstone GP circuit
Following two successes in the Honda Civic ‘Type R Challenge 2018’ at the Magny-Cours and Spa-Francorchamps circuitsthe high-performance hatchback has set a new 2mins 31.32secs lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Silverstone GP circuit in the UK, beating the benchmark set by the previous generation Civic Type R in a similar challenge in 2016.
The Type R was piloted by three-time British Touring Car Championship winner Matt Neal, who is currently campaigning a Honda Civic Type R in the 2018 BTCC with Halfords Yuasa Racing.
The Silverstone GP circuit is a thrilling 5.89km track featuring fast straights and high-speed corners, combined with more technical sections that demand pinpoint placement of the car. With tremendous outright pace from its optimised 2.0-litre VTEC TURBO engine, the Civic Type R provided blistering performance to enable Neal to make the most of the straights and accelerate quickly out of the sweeping corners.
Furthermore, the speed of the circuit means that aerodynamic characteristics are key – and Civic Type R’s best-in-class balance between lift and drag delivered a significant benefit. In the car’s +R mode, the Adaptive Damper System produces a firm and flat ride, enabling more speed to be carried through Silverstone’s flowing curves.
Speaking about the lap record, Matt Neal said: “Where I found the real advantage of the Type R was really in the high-speed corners – the stability which is a combination of the aero and the new advanced suspension system. Into corners like Copse and Stowe at the end of the Hangar straight, you can carry big entry speed with supreme confidence.”
Continuing his commentary on the Type R itself, Neal added: “There isn’t just one point that makes this Type R the best in its class – it’s across the board. It’s a completely new platform from its predecessors from the ground up, and Honda have scrutinised and improved every area from the stability of the handling with the multi-link suspension, the aero, the centre of gravity which is lower, it’s wider, it’s longer, the feedback the driver gets through the steering, the power delivery of the engine – it’s a step forward in every direction.”
The driver line-up for the remaining Type R Challenge 2018 circuit record attempts will include former Formula 1 World Champion and current NSX Super GT driver Jenson Button (UK) and WTCR driver Tiago Monteiro (Portugal).
The new benchmark time for the Silverstone circuit is the fourth 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 7mins 43.8secs. Following that, the ‘Type R Challenge 2018’ started with WTCR driver, Esteban Guerrieri, setting a new 2mins 1.51secs lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at the Magny-Cours GP circuit in France, before Bertrand Baguette clocked 2mins 53.72secs in the same car at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
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.