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Honda breaks The Bend FWD lap record – twice!

Civic Type R beats the previous front-wheel drive lap record by over two seconds


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10 Feb 2022

HONDA has set a new lap record for a front-wheel drive production car at The Bend’s challenging International Circuit, its Civic Type R Limited Edition clocking a time of 2:12.260, lowering the previous benchmark by over two seconds.


Piloted by former Super2 and Australian GT Endurance Champion, and 2019 TCR Australia Series runner-up, Tony D’Alberto, a ‘regular’ Civic Type R was first to break the existing front-wheel drive lap record of 2:14.316 set in late 2019 with a time of 2:13.251 to undercut the previous mark by over a second.


Mr D’Alberto then jumped behind the wheel of the Civic Type R Limited Edition to lower the datum even further, cutting another second from the lap and setting a record of 2:12.260.


“Both cars performed brilliantly on track, with the strengths of the Civic Type R package giving me plenty of confidence to push hard and really go for a quick lap time,” said Mr D’Alberto.


“They were both really consistent as well, which is exactly what you want when you’re trying to find those last few fractions of a second on a lap record run.


“At a circuit like The Bend, with its fast and flowing sections, you need good aero performance and stability to be able to attack the corners and carry speed, particularly through the back portion of the track,” he added.


Mr D’Alberto praised the Civic Type R’s chassis balance and feedback, suggesting that cooler weather conditions could have seen an even faster lap time at the South Australian circuit.


“The standard Civic Type R is beautifully balanced and just such a pleasure to drive on the track, while the Type R Limited Edition offers even more grip and speed, which really encourages you to go for it and try to extract the perfect lap from the car,” he said.


“If the conditions had been cooler I’m confident we could find a few more tenths and even get the Type R Limited Edition into the 2 minute 11 second bracket.


“But the aim was to set a new lap record for Honda and we actually achieved that with both cars, which shows just how good the Civic Type R is – I can’t wait to see what the engineers are able to achieve with the next generation model that’s now on the horizon,” he concluded.


Originally planned to coincide with the local launch of the Civic Type R Limited Edition in mid-2021, COVID-19 restrictions and state border closures delayed the time attack activity at The Bend, until a small window of opportunity opened up as a lead-in to the TCR Australia Series that starts this week on February 11-13.


The Bend’s 4.95km International Circuit is regularly used for a variety of national series events, including the TCR Australia Series and Supercars Championship. 


Like the remainder of The Bend’s adaptable 7.7km layout, it was inspired by some of the world’s most famous racetracks and is the only Australian circuit to comply with the latest FIA Grade 2 and FIM Category A standards.


The time attack challenge at The Bend continues a remarkable run of time attack success for the fifth-generation FK8-series Civic Type R, which has set lap records at a range of legendary European racetracks, including the iconic Nürburgring (7:43.8), as well as at Suzuka in Japan and (unofficially) Mount Panorama at Bathurst, Australia.


“Our team were confident the regular production Civic Type R could beat the existing lap record at The Bend for a front-wheel drive road car and then go even quicker again in the Civic Type R Limited Edition to set a new record lap time,” Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said.


“We were really keen to find another opportunity to take on the time attack challenge as a fitting farewell to this generation of Civic Type R, as it really closed the loop on what has been a hugely successful five year run for the car, bookended by lap record achievements.


“The FK8-series Civic Type R was already a fantastic car in its original form, proving immensely popular with customers, winning numerous awards and setting lap records all around the world since it arrived in 2017.


“The model update in 2020 made a great car even better, with suspension, brake and engine cooling performance upgrades ensuring the Civic Type R continued to deliver the most rewarding driving experience in the hot hatch segment.


“The Civic Type R Limited Edition then took it to the ultimate level, building on the dynamic performance capabilities of the standard car with lightweight components and track-focused tuning to create the purest expression of the Type R to date,” he concluded.


The next generation Civic Type R recently made its first public appearance in prototype form at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Japan's premiere high-performance and custom car show. Set to be the best performing Civic Type R ever, the all-new model will be officially unveiled this year.


The opening round of the 2022 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will be held at Symmons Plains Raceway in Tasmania on February 11-13 where Tony D’Alberto will compete in the #50 Honda Civic Type R TCR race car.

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