The 2023 Honda Civic Type R has set a new record for front-wheel drive cars at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack—if you read the fine print.
The latest Civic Type R lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:44.8, Honda confirmed Wednesday in a press release. That's a slightly longer elapsed time than the 7:40.1 set by the Renault Megane RS Trophy R in 2019, but Honda is claiming the record under newer rules that redefine the length of the track for the purposes of official records.
A Nordschleife lap is still around 13 miles, but the record claimed by Renault was set over a slightly shorter distance. Under rules adopted in 2019, the official length of a full lap is 20.8 kilometers or 12.9 miles. Prior to that, it was 20.6 kilometers, or 12.8 miles, which is the track length at which Renault set its lap time. The Megane RS Trophy R's lap time over the 20.8-kilometer distance was 7:45.3, so the Civic Type R was quicker in this apples-to-apples comparison.
This allows Honda to reclaim the front-wheel-drive Nürburgring lap record for production cars, but again it requires a bit of explanation. The FK8-generation Civic Type R broke the record back in 2017 with a 7:43.8 time over the shorter lap distance used at the time. The Civic Type R had set the record one other time prior to that, with a 7:50.6 lap in 2015.
2023 Honda Civic Type R sets 'Ring record
The latest record was set using Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, which are not standard on the Civic Type R but are available through dealers, Honda noted. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires are standard equipment on the $43,990 Type R.
That base price buys a hot hatch with 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque produced by its 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine and sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission.
Moving to the 11th-generation Civic platform, the Type R has grown larger. The wheelbase has grown 1.4 inches over the previous generation, while the track width has increased by up to 1.0 inch. Honda also claims 8% increased torsional rigidity and 13% increased bending rigidity.
Honda in 2022 confirmed a front-wheel-drive lap record at Japan's Suzuka International Racing Course, with a production-spec car lapping the 3.6-mile track in 2:23.1.
The Civic Type R was named the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2023.