For those who hadn’t worked it out yet, our second of the two world famous race tracks on the agenda for this road trip is the Hungaroring. Yesterday we traveled across the border for this very reason and after a short spell on the motorway from our hotel in Budapest, we arrived at the historic F1 circuit. Parking outside its famed paddock garages our Type R would be getting a well deserved rest as this is a family reunion of sorts. Every generation of Type R to be sold in Europe was available to drive on track.
Kicking off with the EP3, the much loved “bread van” was genesis for us in the UK and it began our Civic Type R journey. Very well received by the motoring press, it certainly impressed today on the more technical elements of the track. An eager front end dives for corner apex whilst a sweet manual gearbox was a joy to use. Revving to the high heavens with a naturally aspirated VTEC engine was a great throwback.
The FN2 Civic Type R, whilst looking like a spaceship, didn’t drive like one. Something of a black sheep of this family, 60KG of extra weight and just 1 BHP more than its predecessor resulted in identical performance figures. It is still fun to drive, but the extra weight results in more body roll. But then its VTEC scream is something very unique and certainly adds to the experience. A brief spell in the hardcore Mugen reveals this to be the car FN2 should have been. It is a much rawer machine, but the bump in performance is a real shot in the arm. It is this incarnation that has the most in common with todays Type R.
The latest FK2 Type R, which has proven to be a noble steed over the past few days, was clearly the fastest of this bunch. Composed even when pushed hard, the 2016 Honda Civic Type R with its new school VTEC had plenty of punch in the slower corners thanks to the turbo torque. High levels of grip and those immense Brembo brakes means that you can make the most of all 306 BHP.
However, the most impressive car of the day and the icing on the cake of this family gathering was the TCR racing car. Stripped out and looking menacing, this serious bit of kit was more than capable of bending the laws of physics. A few fast passenger laps on slick tyres highlighted the night and day difference between a road car and something conceived for the track.
Tomorrow brings the biggest challenge of the road trip so far. A race against time crossing Europe East to West to catch our flight home.