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2021 Honda Type R Limited Edition laps faster than an F40

John Law

The dashingly yellow Civic Type R Limited Edition was revealed earlier this year boasting lightweight BBS wheels and smart onboard driving tech. However, the honed Honda now brags of a front-wheel-drive lap record at Japan’s Suzuka Circuit.

Unlike the venerable Nurburgring, Suzuka isn’t so steeped in road-car history, though the F1 track has played host to the development of many special Hondas.

You won’t have to search far to find a video of an NSX Type R with the great Ayrton Senna – penny loafers and all – at ten-tenths around the high-speed track.

2021 honda Civic Type R Limited Edition - Front
In its natural environment – the track.

Honda claims a time of 2 minutes and 23.993 seconds for the Civic Type R. Sadly, the benchmark Renault Megane Trophy R has yet to post a time at the Japanese track, though the previous Megane 275 claims a lap time of 2 minutes and 28 seconds.

Intriguingly the time of the Civic Type R Limited Edition undercuts one of the all-time great supercars: the Ferrari F40. Not a bad bragging right, we reckon.

But it’s not all about lap times. This latest honed Honda will probably spend most of its time on the road, where rivals like the Hyundai i30 N and Ford Focus ST (watch our comparison of those two here) have traditionally offered more sensory “fizz”.

2021 honda Civic Type R Limited Edition - Atmosphere
We like the yellow, too.

We’ve been over some of the upgrades to the Limited Edition over the regular Civic Type R before, including the achingly attractive forged 20-inch BBS alloy wheels which Honda claims save a total 10kg of unsprung mass.

The benefits of reducing unsprung mass were outlined by Type R project leader, Hideki Kakinuma: “reduction of the unsprung weight from the lightweight forged wheels further improved road holding and increased traction during acceleration from the tight Degner Curve and the famous 130R corner.”

Further benefits and changes needed to be made to the spring and damper settings for the new, more honed Type R. It’s all in the name of going faster; with the adaptive dampers recalibrated and able to adjust more rapidly than before on the Limited Edition.

2020 Honda Civic Type R LE - 6
These attractive alloys shed 10kg of unsprung mass.

Stiffer suspension settings are, of course, necessary to minimise body-roll and take advantage of the super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Honda has also re-tuned the ESC with a more aggressive mode designed for track use.

Kakinuma san cited that “improved load control performance” allowed the greatest lap-time gains through Suzuka’s tricky, long and off-camber corners.

For the Type R Limited Edition, the steering was also recalibrated, adding more feel and a more natural weight, all in the name of better control.

2021 honda Civic Type R Limited Edition - Corner
Retuned suspension helps the Limited Edition lap faster.

Rounding out the chassis upgrades is a freshly developed two-piece floating brake system. This further reduces unsprung mass while improving brake feel and fade-resistance, Honda says. Though exact size details are still to be confirmed.

While the two-litre turbocharged engine has had its 228kW/400Nm outputs left alone, Honda says they have addressed a common bugbear for Type R owners, that is overheating issues during extended periods on track.

The Civic Type R Limited Edition will arrive in Australia by the second quarter of 2021, though there are only 20 up for grabs here. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, though you’ll be able to order one in yellow or yellow with a black roof and bonnet.