Honda Civic Type-R Faster Around The ‘Ring Than Ford Focus RS

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The new Honda Civic Type-R made headlines recently when – it was reported – the hot hatch broke the front-wheel-drive production car lap record at the all-important Nürburgring Nordschleife, turning in a time of just 7 minutes, 43.8 seconds. That’s more than three seconds quicker than the previous record holder: the limited-run Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S.

Granted, there are some caveats; Car and Driver reports that the Civic Type-R that dispatched the ‘Ring recently was a preproduction car “technically representative of production specification,” which wore Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires instead of the production vehicle’s Continental ContiSportContact 6 rubber. The car also had the audio system and rear seats removed, although that was only to offset the added weight of a “floating” roll cage (no added rigidity).

Regardless, assuming this intrepid Honda Civic Type-R’s Nordschleife time was more-or-less accurate, it’s enough to make the hot hatch far quicker around the Green Hell than Ford’s latest Focus RS. Much faster. In fact, in the hands of Sport Auto‘s Christian Gebhardt, the 2016 Focus RS only turned in a lap time of 8 minutes, 6.3 seconds, despite having the advantage over the Civic R with regard to both peak engine output (by 44 horsepower) and number of driven wheels (by two). That’s 22.5 seconds slower than the FWD hot hatch from Japan.

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We don’t like to speculate, but we suspect this might come down largely to weight. The current, Mk III Ford Focus RS is rather portly for its size at nearly 3,500 pounds, while the new Honda Civic Type-R is expected to come in somewhere just below three grand. Sophisticated AWD system or no, we don’t imagine the Focus RS’ high-tech tricks are enough to overcome that sizable handicap.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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3 Comments

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  1. For years enthusiasts have wanted the Type R to come to the US. And for years the Type R has been FWD. Now that it’s coming to the US the amount of keyboard warriors that hate on its FWD is incredible, yet it’s proving itself on the track yet again. Type R takes its record back? Oh it must be the floating roll cage and the tires, and not the overall performance of the car and driver’s skill. I cannot wait to put this car in my garage; it’s going to be fun as hell to drive.

    • Michelin Sport cups vs Goodyear F1’s on friends ZR1 the difference was huge. Sport Cup is race tire posing as a street tire.

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