In case you didn't already know that Honda makes the hottest hot hatch around
The blisteringly hot lap time of 2:01.84 was achieved by touring-car racer Tiago Monteiro, a former F1 driver who has plenty of experience muscling Civics around the track. The Portuguese driver spent the last five seasons driving for Honda (and six before that with Seat) in the World Touring Car Championship, winning eleven races – including one at Estoril.
The former home of the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Autodromo do Estoril is Monteiro's national home circuit. It's 4.2 kilometers (2.6 miles) long, with a kilometer-long start/finish straight and dramatic elevation changes.
The record for front-drive production cars previously stood at 2:04.08, set by the previous Civic Type R at the hands of Bruno Correia two years ago. That makes the new model nearly four full seconds quicker than the old one at this particular track, which just goes to show the rate of progress in automotive development.
The overall production-car lap record at Estoril, in case you were wondering, still belongs to the Nissan GT-R (R35), clocked at 1:55.28. The fastest lap ever achieved on the current configuration was set by Alexandre Premat in an A1GP Lola in 2005 at 1:31.106.
“We came here with a goal to beat the existing lap record set by the previous car but you can never take anything for granted – I mean it’s a lap record so it’s no easy feat,” said Monteiro. “You have to have supreme confidence in the car to attack around Estoril, and the new Type R is just so powerful, smooth and confidence-inspiring. We beat the lap record, smashed the record actually.”
With four circuits now in the bag, Honda's 2018 Type R Challenge will be gunning for a similar feat at the Hungaroring where the older model still holds the record... but not for long, we're sure, at this pace.