Honda has just completed the final part of its Civic Type R Challenge, which succeeded in setting new lap records at five different tracks around Europe this year. On the final leg, a Civic Type R driven by former Formula 1 World Champion and current NSX Super GT driver Jenson Button set a new record of 2 minutes, 10.19 seconds for a front-wheel-drive production car at Hungary's Hungaroring GP circuit.
The Hungaroring is a narrow, winding 4.38 km circuit with 180-degree corners and a complex chicane, which make it one of the more technical tracks in Europe. It also holds particularly fond memories for Button, as it's the circuit where he won his first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2006 before going on to become World Champion in 2009.
Button was obviously delighted after setting the new lap record at the Hungaroring. Speaking of the car itself, he commented: "The first thing I noticed when I left the pit lane was how neutral the car was. I come from a background that is not front-wheel drive focused, so it was very different for me but because the Type R is so well balanced it was instantly really enjoyable and more natural."The Honda Civic Type R Challenge 2018. (Image: AFP Relaxnews)
He added, "The thing that surprised me most is how late you can brake with this car. The manual gearbox works really well, too. Most cars these days don't come with manual boxes, so it's nice to have that manual feel. You always feel a lot more connected to the car." For the five front-wheel drive production car lap records, Honda asked five different Honda racing champions to drive the Civic Type R.
At the Estoril circuit in Portugal, WTCR driver Tiago Monteiro set a lap record of 2 minutes, 01.84 seconds, while at Silverstone in the UK, BTCC legend Matt Neal set a new benchmark of 2 minutes, 31.32 seconds. Japanese Super GT star Bertrand Baguette piloted the Type R around Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in 2 minutes, 53.72 seconds, and at MagnyCours in France, WTCR driver Esteban Guerrieri set a record of 2 minutes, 1.51 seconds.