Our cars update: Honda Civic Type R
- Civic Type R on track day
- Visit to Brands Hatch
- Type R ideal for the circuit
Car tested:2.0 i-VTEC GT
List price: £19,000
Target price: £18,501
Run by: Nigel Swan, video road test co-ordinator
Tested for: 8 months/9590 miles
From an early age, I dreamed of following in my father's motor racing tyre tracks. However, my mum saw things differently after my dad finished one race upside down in the gravel, and so my love of racing was confined to the TV.
Don't tell mum, but a few weeks ago I finally managed to live out my dream by taking our Civic Type R to a track day at Brands Hatch in Kent. Not only did the day give me a chance to push the car to its limits, but it also gave me an idea of how my road-going hot hatch compared with my dad's race-prepared Ford Anglia.
Once I'd told the insurance company I was taking part in a track day and paid the £119 entrance fee, I realised I was mixing with some pretty tasty company; there were Caterhams, Ferraris and Porsches doing the rounds.
The Civic was getting just as much attention from on-lookers as some of the more exotic metal, though – it could have been its styling, or maybe it was the reputation the Type R moniker has built up over the years that made some look the Honda's way.
Although the 198bhp Civic isn't the most powerful hot hatch, its real weapon is how it handles.
The steering gives a fantastic amount of feel and is super-accurate, while the firm ride, which some people find unbearable in day-to-day life, is more at home on a race track.
The Type R remained composed even when it was pushed hard through the bends.
I had a few laps going toe-to-toe with a previous-generation Type-R, and it was clear why it's a track-day favourite. Our lap times were pretty much identical, but the old Type-R seemed to tackle the bends with slightly more poise than ours.
I'm willing to bet I had a more comfortable journey home, though.
So how does it compare with racecars of old? Well, timing gear isn't allowed on track days, but I worked out that my lap times were around a minute per lap on average, which matches my dad's best time around the same circuit layout in his stripped-out Anglia.
At least I ended the day with the car on all four wheels, unlike dad.
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