Type R Honda automobile models are special performance editions of their respective model families.
The design of Type R (”R” for “racing”) models was originally focused mainly on race conditions, with an emphasis on minimizing weight, and maximizing performance potential (e.g. engine tuning, suspension set-up, etc). Thus, Type R models were first conceived for little less than racetracks. However, due to Honda’s increased focus on their highly regarded VTEC engines, the Type R was eventually designed for a much wider market.
The reason why the Type R’s traditionally have a red Honda badge and Championship White as an option is to relate to their first F1 winning car, which also had a red Honda badge and Championship White. Honda’s racing cars and F1 cars often or all the time contain a red Honda badge
[b]History of Civic Type R[/b]
There were initially 2 unofficial versions of the ‘Type R’ – the 1991 EF9 (EF8 – Civic CRX) SiR and the 1992 EG6/9 SiR II. The former is the first Civic ever to utilise the venerable B16 engine and the renowned helical LSD, with a stripped out interior devoid of luxuries such as power windows and power steering. Another first was the employment of the four wheel double wishbone independent suspension, which gave this sub-1000kg Civic highly adjustable handling on the limit. This inaugral top-of-the range Civic marked Honda’s successes in Formula One, with multiple Constructors’ Championships with the Marlboro McLaren team. The latter EG6/9 SiR II sang the same luxury-free tune, with a 10hp hike for the B16 engine and a marginally stiffer chassis, better brakes and an updated nineties facade – this time round, the kerb weight tipped the scales at just over a ton.
The Civic Type R was officially introduced in Japan in 1997, as an EK9-chassis hatchback, and shared many characteristics with the Integra Type R such as omission of sound deadening and other weight-reduction measures, a hand-ported B16B engine, front limited-slip differential, close ratio gearbox etc. The EK9 B16B engine boasted one of the highest power output per litre of all time for a NA engine at 185hp from a 1.6L sump, which is greater than that of a Ferrari 360 Modena. With a strategically seam welded monocoque chassis, this lithe 3 door hatch gave many competitors with larger price tags, bigger engines and/or more gadgetry a good run for their money. However, this generation of the Civic Type R was not marketed by Honda outside of Japan.
(Note: the EK generation SiR III was released as a mainstream 170hp Civic (EK4) that was available worldwide, and was immensely popular due to its relatively low cost and high performance from both engine and chassis even without the high end treatment such as LSD, close ratio gearbox, race interiors and seam welding. However, the 3 door hatchback model spawned many EK9 Type R replicas – a niggling side issue affecting R purists that Honda addressed shortly with the release of the next model.)
In 2001 Honda introduced the next generation of the Civic Type R (EP3) as a unique 3 door hatchback to the UK market, which was manufactured in Swindon, England. This later EDM Civic Type R features a 197hp 2.0L i-VTEC engine (K20A) and the regular Type R treatment of seam welding, close ratio transmission and uprated brakes, but does not include some of the other higher-end features, such as the helical LSD and Recaro race-seats, that were standard in the previous generation. This however, does not pertain to the JDM version of the EP3 (which is also manufactured in Swindon), which retains the highly renowned helical LSD similar to that of the EK9.
Other differences include more track-oriented chassis and undercarriage settings as compared to the EDM, as well as a 215hp engine with different camshafts and ECU programming. The JDM EP3 is still one of the quickest despite recent challengers such as the Golf Mk5 GTI and Focus ST - it remains highly competitive to even the most high-end of sporty hatchbacks, in the form of the Golf R32, BMW 130, Clio V6 and Alfa Romeo GTA. The EDM is a tad less focused with more relaxed gear ratios and a better torque curve, but is a shade slower in the sprint to the century mark – observers have likened the JDM to a frenzied everyready track-happy machine, and the more subtle EDM to a combination of weekend track-toy and cross country GT.
The EDM EP3 was widely acclaimed by motoring journalists across the UK, winning ‘Hot Hatch of the Year’ awards more than once from Top Gear and What Car?. The Civic Type R became a popular alternative for mainstream drivers, with the EDM cloking huge sales numbers. The JDM remained a strictly ‘export-model’ only despite being manufactured in the UK, and is relatively rare outside of Japan. The 2001 release of this CTR, as it is commonly referred to, also indicated Honda’s return to Formula One in almost 10 years as an engine supplier to the Jordan and BAR teams – this eventually led to the full-fledged comeback as a dedicated F1 works team in 2005 with Honda gaining full ownership of BAR.