The Corolla GR's fiercest rival will strut its stuff around the track.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI may be the poster child for hot hatches, but when it comes to hardcore performance and outright driver enjoyment, it is outclassed by the Honda Civic Type R. The outgoing model has long been praised for its razor-sharp handling but has often come under fire for its overly aggressive styling.
Its replacement is said to remedy that while affording even better performance - it managed to beat the previous-gen Type R LE around the famed Suzuka Circuit. Officially unveiled in January this year, the prototype is shaping up to be a worthy successor to the much-loved FK8. Now, the soon-to-be-launched Type R will make its first appearance on local soil, at the Honda Indy 200 NTT Indycar Series.
Sadly, it will still sport the specially designed camouflage, but the appearance of the Type R prototype will still be an exciting experience for attendees. What's more, Honda will demonstrate its performance capabilities; the Civic Type R will be pressed into duty as the lead vehicle at the start of the race and do some demonstration laps over the weekend.
Racegoers have plenty to look forward to. The prototype already proved it's a serious threat to rivals after posting a rapid 2.23.120 lap time around the 3.6-mile-long Suzuka circuit, clinching a lap record for front-wheel-drive vehicles in the process. That's no mean feat; to put the achievement into perspective, the mighty Ferrari F50 went around the same track three seconds slower.
Despite increasing pressure to electrify new models, Honda has stuck with its guns and maintained an old-school approach with the new Type R. As such, the flagship Civic will retain a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four mated to a six-speed gearbox - although an automatic shouldn't be ruled out yet. The outgoing model produces a substantial 306-horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, so we can expect the Tokyo-based brand to boost power.
After all, the Civic Type R will arrive just in time to duke it out with the recently revealed GR Corolla. While it may utilize a notably smaller powertrain, the high-performance Corolla boasts 300 hp and 273 lb-ft and all-wheel-drive. It's set to be a hugely exciting time for hot hatch lovers and, possibly, one of the last great rivalries before the inevitable switch to EVs. Those wanting to see the Civic Type R prototype in action best make their way down to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio between July 1 and 3.