Insidelane recently put the rip-roaring Honda Civic Type R through its paces on an unforgettable European road trip. The border-hopping odyssey saw us push the 306bhp hot-hatch to its limits on some of the continent’s most famous racetracks, including the 12.9 mile colossus that is the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
It was here amongst the imposing trees of the ‘Green Hell’, as christened by F1 legend Jackie Stewart no less, where the Civic Type R set a new lap record time of 7:50 for a front wheel drive car in 2014, ousting the previous incumbent of the prestigious hot-hatch throne, Renault’s Mégane RS Trophy.
This new target stood firm for the best part of two years and it was only last month when a new kid on the block was finally able to wrestle the FWD title away from Honda’s grasp – albeit only by a whisker. The usurper in question was the VW Golf GTI Clubsport, which managed to raise, or lower, the bar by 8 tenths of a second.
Naturally, Honda weren’t prepared to see their thunder stolen without a fight and have thrown down the gauntlet to their German nemesis once more by smashing no less than five FWD lap records at five of Europe’s most prestigious circuits. Over the past three months, the 2.0-litre Civic Type R has been on assignment at Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Estoril and the Hungaroring, demolishing a heap of fastest times. Insidelane was on hand to witness the Type R’s 305bhp and 295 lb-ft of torque unleashed on the F1 circuit at its final stop-off in Hungary, where it stopped the clocks at 2:10:85.
The question is; how long will Honda’s quintet of records remain intact? Listen carefully, and you’ll hear the collective roar of Europe’s premier hot-hatches revving up for a shot of the title. It’s war in Europe; continental hot-hatch conflict is about to erupt.