Whiteline recently acquired the newest 'Hot Hatch' to hit the market with the record breaking FWD Honda Civic Type R. Here's the initial thoughts from Whiteline R+D team.
"After coming off the back of development on the Subaru Impreza STi, and Ford Focus RS, I was really keen to get my hands on the new Honda Civic type R, Front wheel drive. With all the hype surrounding the vehicles record time around the Nordschleife – Nurburgring, we had expected big things from this 2.0 Litre turbo Charged weapon. After receiving the vehicle approximately 4 weeks after ordering it the day finally arrived, 100Kms on the odometer, time to take it for a run with the vehicle in totally standard trim straight off the factory floor.
Straight out the box the car felt nimble; pushing ever slightly harder on each turn the car was predictable, however we did notice the more we started to push naturally the more we noticed the body roll in the front and how the vehicle started to fall over on the loaded damper. The vehicle was smooth, flowing and transitioned well on smooth roads however at the limit on the rougher, undulating surfaces the dampers would peak out at full bump compression and fire back a little hard for my liking on rebound unsettling the car and pushing a bit of understeer.
We were certainly impressed by the turn in of the car and knew without doing any research on alignment specifications that this vehicle had a significant amount of caster built into it due to the camber gain we were getting on turn in through front end corner grip. We did notice a few times on throttle lift off at the limit or pitching the vehicle under brakes the rear of the vehicle would want to rotate the rear end around. This felt a little odd considering the vehicle would push understeer and then snap into oversteer. On the wheel aligner she went. Straight away, there is the problem, -1.1mm toe out on the rear; this makes perfect sense to why the car wants to rotate on lift off on left hand turns. Wheel is tracking away from the corner and as such attempting to rotate the vehicle
So off we tweak the rear end setup and throw a little ‘toe-in’ to keep the rear more settled on throttle lift off. Were not too sure how we ended up with these toe out settings from the dealer in the rear end being out however we had pushed them to get the car to us ‘quick’ for development and indicated we were going to pull the vehicle to pieces anyway so it wasn’t really of great concern to us with our own wheel aligner at the ready. Interestingly to note here the amount of caster, 7 degrees is very healthy and combined with the static values of around 1 and quarter degree negative camber indicate why this car is so good in braking and turn in due to the camber gain it generates.
Now with the alignment set to a little less aggressive settings in the rear and a renewed confidence in the handling, again we try, definitely a lot better now as we can push harder however were finding the body roll is now a bit of a problem, especially in the front end and getting the rear to rotate and turn in tighter is now non-existent. Now the fun part begins, time to turn this daily driver into a handling weapon.
Time to remove the OEM anti roll bars front and rear, starting with the rear bar first, this is not too bad to get to. We needed to drop the exhaust hangers first right at the very rear to gain enough clearance to worm the anti-roll bar over. In goes the new bar, 22mm in diameter with two holes of adjustment. Onto the front now, the process to remove the bar is the K frame needs to be dropped at the rear enough to worm the bar out through the back, pretty straight forward process, and the process for dropping this K frame is much the same as doing it on the Ford Focus just some bolts are a little tricky to get too around the steering rack. Now with the OEM 29mm hollow bar removed in goes the Whiteline 27mm solid bar, set to the soft setting.
Alignment reset, time to take the vehicle for another run, straight away we could already notice the reduction in body roll, time to push the limits of the vehicle. First corner we could already feel the car was a lot more stable had a lot less roll, the improvement was noticeable so much so the car in OEM trim was great but now felt even more planted. Pushing the car hard now the reduction in body roll was significant and the Honda turned in really hard. We pushed the vehicle to the limits of adhesion and the understeer and front end washout was all but eliminated. The car was balanced with a gentle light rotation of the rear end off throttle. So with a big cheesy grin, mission accomplished, very pleasing difference to the balance and feel of the vehicle already improving on an awesome starting platform.
Now, time to move onto the Lowering springs".
Check the current Civic Type R product ranger here