2022 Honda Civic Type R breaks front-wheel drive lap record at Suzuka

Just like the last one, the new Civic Type R has once again started breaking lap records; how many more will fall?

Honda continues to drip feed information for its forthcoming Civic Type R, this time with news that it has broken the lap record for front-wheel drive cars at Suzuka Circuit. 

Timed by Honda itself, the new 2022 Civic Type R lapped the 5.8km circuit in 2 minutes 23.120 seconds, 0.873 seconds faster than the previous generation Type R Limited Edition

Set during the car’s final round of development testing last month, Honda’s latest Civic Type R will be launched later this year and is based on the 11th generation Civic, which in Europe will only be offered with hybrid powertrains. However, the new Type R is expected to stick with the tried and trusted KC201 turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with power expected to be increased over the previous generation’s 316bhp. 

A big fan of setting lap records, the previous generation Honda Civic Type R lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes 43.8 seconds in 2017, the fastest of any front-wheel drive car, before going to break a further five lap records at circuits around Europe.

Honda’s other global markets haven’t been quite so patient in the reveal of high performance derivatives of the new Civic, with the USA already revealing the warm Civic Si, typically a watered down variant of the full Type R in North American markets. So while we won’t get the Si in Europe, it does reveal much of what our Type R will look like, particularly inside the cabin, and the news is good. 

That’s because the interior looks like it’ll be a significant step up in both quality and interface. Gone is the current Type R’s complex collection of angular plastics, and in its place is a far more restrained and resolved design with a single horizontal air vent dominating the dash. The new high-mounted screen looks clearer and larger, while the Type R’s semi-digital instrument cluster has been replaced with a brilliantly clear set of analogue dials – this is excellent news. 

> Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition 2022 review – the greatest hot hatchback of all time?

Things are also different around the centre console, with the six-speed manual gear stick in a smaller opening mounted to one side. This will likely be shared with the new Type R, but we expect its key elements to be fitted like the more aggressive buckets, and hopefully an Alcantara steering wheel and solid aluminium gear knob.

Outside, the American-spec saloon body will be ditched in favour of the hatchback body, but its styling will be similar, with previously seen images of the actual Type R giving us plenty of clues as to what we should expect when it arrives next year.

What we can tell you is that first and foremost, the new Civic Type R’s overall proportions will remain largely unchanged from the previous model, which is both longer and wider than a majority of its rivals. From these images, the new Type R will build on this with yet wider track widths and bespoke bodywork.

The current Type R’s extreme design appears to have been significantly toned down from the arresting look of the current model, mirroring the standard Civic’s smoother aesthetic with a more cohesive design that incorporates some elements familiar to the current model. These include a high-mounted rear wing and triple exhaust outlets, combined with what look like a more subtly integrated rear diffuser, splitter and skirts. 

The prototypes also look to be running 20-inch wheels, this time wrapped in Michelin tyres, but the specific rubber that’ll be used on European models still remains to be confirmed.

We now can also confirm that the new Type R will be sourced out of the Yorii factory in Japan, where all European-market Civics are due to be sourced from. Previously, all Euro Civics have been assembled in the UK, but after the shutdown of Honda’s Swindon assembly plant, question marks over where, and more importantly when, the Civic was due were highlighted. 

> 2023 Honda Integra revealed in prototype form

This change of factory is likely part of the cause of its delay, not to mention the continued battles with the supply chain chaos that's affecting all automotive sectors, but Honda UK has at least confirmed it will be available, unlike many of Japan’s recent performance reboots like the Nissan Z and Subaru WRX. So while there will be a wait for the new Civic Type R, if the new model is able to combine the previous model’s class-leading driving experience with a sleeker design, we’ll consider that a win.

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