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2023 Honda Civic Type R on the Nurburgring

The 2023 Civic Type R Is Not Slower Than the Old One Around the Nürburgring and Here's Why

This doesn't come as much of a surprise

  • The FL5 Civic Type R now holds the FWD Nürburgring lap record.
  • Its impressive lap took place around the recently modified, longer version of the circuit.
  • Honda opted to use Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires for the run.

The famed Nürburgring circuit, also known as the "Green Hell," is regarded as the ultimate proving ground for any performance car, and some automakers take lap times there very seriously. It is the track they all want to conquer, and Honda has just reclaimed the lap record for a production front-wheel-drive car at the notorious 12.9-mile German circuit in the new FL5 Civic Type R.

While Nürburgring lap times might not mean much to everyone, it's a straightforward way for automakers to one-up each other. The new Type R's time is a stellar 7 minutes and 44.881 seconds. Those who with long memories for stats like this will go "wait a second, the old one was faster!" But it wasn't. The reason the time of the old FK8 Type R's time of 7:43.80 appears quicker than the new car's is, essentially, because in 2019 the Nürburgring got even longer.

Before 2019, the finish line was actually 760 feet before the starting line. In 2019, the two became one, and the official track length grew from 12.8 miles to 12.944 miles, and official lap times have been slightly longer ever since. But, consider that, despite the added length (just over one-eighth of a mile), the new Type R is only a second slower than the old one, and you get an idea of just how quick the new car is.

2023 Honda Civic Type R at the Nurburgring

In order to more accurately demonstrate how much time the new length adds, Porsche published two lap times for the current 911 GT3 when it came out in 2021. Using the old circuit length, the GT3 ripped off a time of 6:55.2, but on the new circuit the time was 6:59.927. That means that there's a pretty significant difference here, especially considering the GT3 is several orders of magnitude quicker than a Type R and still needed more than 4.5 seconds to cover the extra distance.

The lap time was set on the optional (dealer-installed) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Connect tires. These have been available on the Type R since it was launched, but we since we only test cars that come straight from the factory, we've only been able to test the Type R on the less sticky, more road-biased Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tire that comes as standard. For a little perspective, the Type R pulled 1.07 g on our 200-foot skidpad on the PS4S tire — we can only imagine how sticky the same car would be on track-ready rubber like the Cup 2s.

2023 Honda Civic Type R at the Nurburgring

Edmunds says

Well done, Honda, but we're sure someone else will be gunning for this record sooner rather than later.