Honda Type R - how it started

Honda Type R - how it started

Starting as a motorcycle manufacturer in 1948, Honda expanded its business operations to include automobiles in 1963. Prior to that, founder Soichiro Honda (1906–1991) had his people construct the Suzuka Circuit in 1962, believing that a car could not be improved upon unless it was being raced. The first foray into this four-wheel avenue was the T360 truck, followed by the S500 sportscar in October 1963. Predictably, motorsport became embedded in Honda’s vision for his company, which included the automaker’s first participation in Formula 1 from 1964–1968, with only two victories coming in 1965 and 1967.

BUY — Honda Type R

But the turning point came in 1992 when Honda pinned the ‘Type R’ badge on the first-generation NSX. The car, in Championship White with a red badge – a throw-back to Honda’s first F1 victory in 1965 – represented energy, passion and excitement, all elements that Soichiro Honda wanted his cars to embody.

Type R represents Honda’s racing spirit and the brand’s continued efforts to unlock driving potential from its products. It’s a philosophy etched into the minds of the designers, engineers and fans, all making up part of a three-decade dynasty.


Eleven more models have gone on to receive the Type R treatment since the NSX in 1992. These were made lighter, the engines upgraded (where needed) and the suspension altered to justify earning the Type R moniker.

From 2007 onwards, only the Civic would receive the Type R badge, but Honda’s dedication ensured it endured as the front-wheel-drive benchmark.

Today, the latest FL5 Civic Type R is powered by a turbocharged 2,0-litre petrol engine, with figures of 235 kW and 420 N.m, fed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

The FL5 offers more grip and downforce than its predecessor, the FK8, enhanced by torsional rigidity improved by 15% and increased breathability by the exhaust tailpipe with its triple exits.

In March 2023, the Civic Type R set the record for the fastest front-wheel-drive car around the 20,8 km Nürburgring with a time of 7:44.881.

Dai Hara, a designer on the FK8 and FL5 Civics, sums it up: “We can try things because we have a clear goal to create the ‘fastest’ vehicle. I learnt what functional beauty is and what the Type R is all about.”

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