This might be a little hard to fully grasp from just a headline, but the FL5’s ‘ring lap time of 7:44.881 has indeed made it the fastest production street legal front-drive car to lap the formidable Nurburgring Nordschleife.
But…..it’s also slower than its predecessor, the FK8 which, five years ago, set a time of 7:43.800. So how can the new car be technically quicker while posting a time a full second down on the old boy? Worse is the comparison to the previous FWD champion, the Megane RS Trophy-R with its 7:40.100 time.
The thing is: the track itself has changed, with a new route that essentially makes it longer to complete a lap, but also makes a direct comparison between the FL5 and all its rivals quite a tough one. For example, we know the car is faster than the one it replaces but we no longer have a concrete difference between it and the new model until Honda decides to do some back to back hot laps and post them up.
That said, the FL5 running this new longer route on the Nurburgring does show up some much more powerful, exotic machines such as the Lamborghini Gallardo, a Camaro Z28, Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S, and a Mercedes-AMG E 63 S even though these cars were running on the previous shorter track route.
According to Honda, the Type R that made the lap was about as stock as can be with the only modification – albeit a controversial one – is the fitment of a dealer-optional set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Some have marked this as an unfair advantage with many other production car records using less track-specific rubber.
For Malaysian fans, the automaker has not detailed a set timeline for the introduction of the all-new Civic Type R but has made numerous hints that the car isn’t too far away. 2023 will be a big year for the brand with numerous launches lined up.
Now with the presence of a certain GR Corolla in the local space, perhaps Honda Malaysia is already hard at work preparing the FL5 for a showroom debut here, if only to keep up with their competitors. It’s not about sales volume anymore; this is about bragging rights.