Back when the current FK8 Civic Type R was shown to the world in March 2017, much was made of its frankly ludicrous 7:43.80 Nurburgring lap time. Sure, that was completed by an apparently production spec prototype vehicle, rather than one fresh off the line, but all subsequent drives proved what an incredibly capable machine it was. On road and circuit, the Civic Type R remains the best hot hatch you can buy.
However, that Nurburgring supremacy looks to be under threat from the latest Megane Trophy-R, spotted testing there just a couple of weeks ago. The last Trophy-R claimed the front-wheel drive lap record before the Civic and the Golf Clubsport S, and will surely have designs on doing the same again.
Not if Honda has anything to do with it. These pictures show a facelifted Type R on the fabled circuit, with the usual facelift fare fitted - new bumpers, grilles, lights - but also one or two more interesting additions. The first is the Phoenix Yellow paint (or Sunlight Yellow, as it's also known), a colour not yet seen on the FK8 and known as the Civic Jordan hue from the turn of the millennium. It's only seen on very special Hondas, basically, including the NSX-R Hero we featured recently.
The second is the fitment of 'Nurburgring' stickers on the rear spoiler, implying this might be a Civic Type R special edition dedicated to the circuit. Honda has some form in doing this previously, of course, with its Motegi test track forming the basis of a Prelude special edition. This looks to have more intent behind it, though, and suggest Honda is very keen on re-establishing its name as maker of the fastest front-wheel drive hot hatch out there.
Finally, it's worth noting the camo'd roof, suggesting there might be a carbon option introduced with the facelift. It's all looking very serious, which it would have to when now considering hatchbacks presumably capable of Nordschleife lap times in the 7:30s.
There's nothing more to report as yet, though the prospect of another Renault Sport versus Honda battle royale on the Nurburgring is one for enthusiasts everywhere to be excited about given the cars produced previously. How much quicker can hot hatches get?