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Honda 2017 CIVIC TYPE R Engineer Talk Vol 1

Ever since joining Honda, I have seen how Type R’s have been developed, and have been involved in the development of a number of Type R models. Of all the Type R’s the Civic Type R was born as the most affordable sports model for many Honda-loving drivers, and has continued to be a popular model. The Type R’s until now have, I think, sacrificed everyday driving characteristics for high sports performance.

Civic Type R Project Leader
Hideki Kakinuma

The previous generation Civic Type R was equipped with a powerful 2.0L VTEC TURBO engine with over 300PS output. It set the fastest lap time for a front-wheel drive of 7 min 50 s at the Nurburgring in Germany, but its fundamental characteristics for driving on public roads could have been developed further.

Chassis performance for the 6th generation Civic Type R, including the base model, was significantly enhanced, resulting in a new, 7 min 43 s record-setting lap time at the Nurburgring in Germany.

The new Civic Type R is not just fast, but is a sports model that can be driven with complete confidence, and fills the driver with an overwhelming desire to keep on driving. In this sense, the new Civic Type R symbolizes the car the Honda has dreamed of making.

“I joined Honda in 1991. The next year, the first “R” model, the NSX Type R debuted. In 1995, the Integra Type R made its appearance, and soon after that the Civic Type R followed. This was the first Type R model that young drivers who loved Honda, who loved sports cars, could afford.”

NSX Type R (1992)

INTEGRA Type R (1995)

CIVIC Type R (1997)

Hideki Kakinuma, who oversaw development of the 6th generation Civic Type R, recalled the history of the Type R, reflecting on his footsteps as a Honda engineer.

“The Type R’s lineage always had some kind of restriction,” Kakinuma lamented.

“Due to the industry’s self-imposed limits, the NSX Type R engine’s output was the same as the base model, 280PS, which was low compared to the world’s top class sports cars.

“The Integra Type R and Civic Type R that followed were based on affordable mass-produced models, so to gain performance, unnecessary components had to be removed. This meant that the usual comforts had to be sacrificed to build what turned out to be a ‘racing car with license plates.’

“They were, however, cars that were true to the fundamental values of driving pleasure and excitement,” Kakinuma recalls.

“So, young drivers who loved Honda and loved sports cars welcomed the Type R. But it was not an easy option for other drivers.”

The 5th generation Civic Type R was the turning point in this status quo.

5th generation CIVIC Tpe R (2015)

The 5th generation Civic Type R was the turning point in this status quo.

“Our goal was to set the fastest lap time for a front-wheel drive model at the Nurburgring. This generation would become the first generation of Civic Type R’s developed for world-class speed.”

The 310PS, 2.0L VTEC TURBO engine was developed, and riding on “world standard” 19-inch wheels along the Nurburgring’s lengthy acceleration sectors and continuous ups and downs, the first category-beating Civic Type R was born.

“We set the record for front-wheel drive cars, 7 min 50 s, at the time, but we felt we were up against a wall with its packaging and the platform’s potential. In other words, once we gained world-class engine power and tire grip, we found areas we had to improve.”

6th generation CIVIC Type R (2017)

The new, 6th generation Civic Type R, including the base model, was developed for world-class dynamic performance, entailing a complete rethinking of its packaging and platform.

“We just knew that we were developing the new era Type R that we really wanted to build,” recalled Kakinuma. The completed 6th generation Civic Type R went on to set a new record of 7 min 43 s at the Nurburgring, as a sports model not only with grand tourer performance, but practical as well.

“The new Civic Type R is not just fast, but is a sports model that can be driven with complete confidence, and fills the driver with an overwhelming desire to keep on driving. In this sense, the new Civic Type R is not just a flagship model for the Civic, but symbolizes the car the Honda has dreamed of making.”

 





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