Repost: What Happened To The Type R Spirit? (WAKE UP Honda, everybody’s surpassing you…)

Updated 2/5/2012 6:13 am – Wow this article is a bit old looks like it is from March 2011.  But I just read it for the first time today.  It is still highly relevant however!  While performance numbers don’t mean everything, coming dead last on a lapping test in a field of 12 is truly pathetic.  Look at the competitors!!  When will the REAL Honda spirit get revived?  The management has been sleeping on their job for over 5 years now.  It’s time to bring the Type-R spirit – better yet, the real HONDA Spirit back.  I want to be proud to show the latest Honda cars and say POWERED BY HONDA babeee!!!  Lets go Honda!!

What Happened To The Type R Spirit?


honda civic type r picture1 300x199 What Happened To The Type R Spirit?Looks fast – misleading looks clearly remembers its first drive in a Type R car, the Integra DC2R.

We remember the “snick, snick” of the sweet gearbox, keeping the engine singing in the top half of the rev range.

We also remember the disappointment of getting smoked from the lights by cars like the WRX and 200sx, and then the surprise of pulling them in once the road tightened and the corners arrived – the surprise of a naturally aspirated, front wheel drive car, utterly devoid of understeer and full of character and precision.

It was then that understood the Type R spirit – balance; handling; steering precision; sharp turn in; manic vtec (yo!) scream, throttle response and control; the sum of the parts being greater than the whole; and something more than just straight line heroics.

Looking into the rear view mirror and seeing the WRX wanting to understeer into a tree and the 200sx oversteering like it was driving on an oil slick, we realised the true meaning of the Type R badge. This was even more evident when the Integra pestered more fancied and powerful cars on the track.


Over time, watched, saddened at the demise of the Type R spirit and Honda’s sports car DNA. The Prelude, Integra, CRX, NSX, S2000 – all culled from the Honda range and replaced by Toyota clones – boring and economical shopping carts.

The only car left to carry the Type R badge was the Civic R.

Knowing that the R philosophy was never about straight line speed, we didn’t flinch when we read the following on the Civic R in the February 2011 issue of Wheels magazine:

“The sound and fury doesn’t signify anything fast … it just aint that quick

If you’re not prepared for a max-commitment launch you’ll lose the traffic light Grand Prix to … anything automatic.

It needs more torque and less understeer”.

Sure, in a straight line, the Civic R was the slowest of the 11 hot hatches gathered (0-100 in 8.2 seconds, the quarter mile in 15.9 seconds, and among the slowest for in gear acceleration).

Sure, the low rev response is rubbish.

Sure, the hard ride and general lack of refinement is obvious.

Sure, it’s a flawed road car with a very narrow window of power and enjoyment.

Sure, oriental Honda fan bois buy them, put Mugen stickers on the side, fit neon lights underneath, and then go changing lanes underneath trucks in a most fast and furious manner before hitting the drive through at Bankstown Maccas.

However, all this would be excused and exonerated on the track and in the corners, right? Wrong!


In the hands of an ex Formula BMW and Formula 3 racing driver, the Civic R, the current pinnacle of the R badge, was hammered by all and sundry on the track. Check out the lap times:

Renault Megane RS250 (184kW, 340nM, 1393kg, $46,990) – 60.7 seconds.

WRX (195kW, 343nM, 1410kg, $39,990) – 60.92 seconds.

Golf R (188kW, 330nM, 1476kg, $48,490) – 60.98 seconds.

Ford Focus RS (224kW, 440nM, 1492kg, $59,990) – 61.14 seconds.

Mini Cooper JCW (155kW, 280nM, 1130kg, $49,200) – 62.01 seconds.

VW Golf GTI (155kW, 280nM, 1380kg, $42,990) – 62.33 seconds.

Mazda3 MPS (190kW, 380nM, 1455kg, $41,915) – 62.40 seconds.

VW Polo GTI (132kW, 250nM, 1189kg, $27,790) – 62.41 seconds.

Renault Clio RS200 (148kW, 215nM, 1281kg, $39,140) – 62.47 seconds.

Citroen DS3 Dsport (115kW, 240nM, 1165kg, $35,990) – 62.80 seconds.

Civic R (148kW, 193nM, 1345kg, $39,990) – 63.40 seconds.

Stone cold, dead, motherless last!vtec What Happened To The Type R Spirit? couldn’t believe our eyes.

A car that asked for so many compromises on the road then had the nerve to offer no corresponding advantage or joy with its track performance.

A Type R car, flogged by a Citroen DS3 on the track?! What is this world coming to?!

A $40k Type R car, beaten by a $28k VW Polo on the track? The Polo was described as “quick, safe and fun … class leading ride and refinement”. A Polo, which is a much better and less compromised road car, is now also the faster track car?!

To add insult to injury, the Polo is more than 12 grand cheaper than the Civic! Hahaha

On a one minute circuit, the Civic R had its butt handed to it by the Renault Megane to the tune of some 3 seconds per lap. That’s enough time for us to do a crossword whilst we wait sit in the Megane and wait for the Civic R to arrive!


In a word, no!

In disbelief at how the Civic R was hammered on the road and the circuit, we had to go and drive one for ourselves.

Sadly, not only did find the Civic slow, but it had none of the edge or fun factor of the Integra R we so fondly remembered.

The problem with the Civic when it was  first released in Australia? No limited slip diff, no double wishbone suspension, porky 1345kg weight, no Brembos – simply put? No fun.

We found ourselves experiencing the exact same issues as the commentary on the Civic:

“Derided the Type R for its lack of front end grip, blaming its too stiff rear suspension … the Honda’s entry speeds were dictated by the early, and scrubby onset of understeer, meaning you had to rely on getting out the other side quickly … clearly not going to happen.

Perhaps the only saving grace for the Civic for being the slowest on the road and track is that it would be the most fun you could have with your pants on, right?

It must be one hell-uv-a drive that puts a huge smile on your face, correct?

Unfortunately, the only thing on’s face was a frown as we fought the understeer through the corners and swore at the red R emblem whilst a Toyota Aurion effortlessly pulled away from us at the lights. rollercoastervtec 300x231 What Happened To The Type R Spirit?


Honda, what happened?

What have you done with our beloved Type R spirit?

Your Type R cars are now the slowest on the road and the slowest on the track – the worst of all worlds.

Soichiro Honda, Honda’s founder, once said, “If Honda does not race, then there is no Honda”.

Well, Honda, now that you’ve pulled out of F1 and now that when your R cars race, they come last on the road and the circuit, what has really become of Honda?

Maybe the Type R badge should renamed Type S – for Type Slow!


About GhettoRacer

racer, driver coach, taoist, yogi, dreamweaver, bballer, rebel, philosopher, entrepreneur, kiva, lonewolf, vagabond, photo/video shooter, storyteller
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