Characteristic Picture credit score: Steven Siovan (Instagram: @_siovan)
As an automotive journalist, I’ve taken each alternative to speak concerning the Honda Civic Sort R—and by extension, the Acura Integra Sort S—even on extra unique primarily based boards equivalent to this one. However right here, they’ve relevance.
That’s as a result of they’re such nice automobiles. I’ve at all times discovered it exceptional how constantly they punch above their weight in significant settings just like the racetrack, the place I’ve had many first hand accounts of this going down.
I’ll by no means go so far as stating that the most recent CTR or ITS are going to be the benchmark automobile at your typical HPDE or aggressive time trial occasion, doubtless dominated by a wholesome number of Cayman, 911, and all method of race automobile. Nevertheless, they are going to shock—and possibly humble—lots of people driving rather more succesful and costly sports activities automobiles.
Simply a few days in the past, I had the prospect to match each automobiles at our native motorsports circuit. Extra on that, under.
Extra Than Phrases
Maybe all this discuss and admiration, for the CTR specifically, was additionally a self-fulfilling prophecy for myself turning into an proprietor of this spectacular sizzling hatch. Nicely, right here we’re in the present day, and there’s an “FL5” sitting in my storage.
My buddy, Chris, additionally occurred to have picked up a model new Acura Integra Sort S lately. Chris has owned his Sort S for nearly 3 months now and has accomplished a few observe days with it, together with the one we did for our comparability.
On the date of our observe day, I had owned my Sort R for just a little over per week, racking up a strong 150 km of avenue driving within the course of. This could even be my first day with it on the circuit, so it’s protected to say that my turning into acquainted with the automobile is being fast-tracked (pun supposed).
Match In The Making
Certainly, Honda and Acura are concentrating on two various kinds of prospects, as there’s the expectation that they are going to be selecting one or the opposite, and never each. Though these automobiles can play a number of roles with virtually indistinguishable versatility, they nonetheless need to be totally different in some way. We got down to discover out at what ranges this was the case, at a racetrack.
To start with, neither of us wasted a lot time doing the naked minimal wanted to make the automobiles extra appropriate for a observe day, which included higher-temp brake fluid and a extra aggressive wheel alignment. Security first, proper?
Chris advised me that he had not upgraded to a higher-temp brake fluid for the primary observe day along with his “DE5”, and that this could ultimately require a noon intervention when extreme fade started to set in. Fortunately he obtained that sorted out then, as this meant that our “Best Motoring Canada” episode may go on with no hitch. This additionally gave me the impetus to get that stuff sorted out earlier than later, for my very own sake.
Earlier than I get into the nitty-gritty of what was noticed that day, let me preface this with some concerns concerning every automobile’s settings and the situations throughout our comparability.
FL5 Civic Sort R
DE5 Integra Sort S
- Nankang AR-1 265/35/19 Tires (100tw)
- Limitless RF650 Racing Brake Fluid
- Endless ME20 Brake Pads (Entrance & Rear)
- Max. unfavourable entrance camber allowed with manufacturing facility elements (near -1.8°) w/ zero toe
- Pushed in Sport+ mode w/ VSA off (“Pedal Dance” carried out)
Observe & Occasion Particulars
Location: Rocky Mountain Motorsports Circuit
Occasion: Privately-run HPDE with normal open-lapping format (passing solely with point-by or sign, no “racing”, and many others.).
Disclaimer: This membership additionally enforces a strict security coverage when taking a passenger—any “incidents”, together with a spin, and also you’ll be despatched house for the day.
Chris and I every took one passenger throughout our two lead-follow periods, of which the second had video footage (embedded under) after I was within the lead automobile. We felt that it was applicable to take these explicit passengers alongside as they’re each very conversant in Honda/Acura platforms—particularly with regards to monitoring and dealing on them, making them a useful supply for info and suggestions.
That being stated, neither of us had been solely centered on lap occasions, nor did we intend to find our automobile’s absolute efficiency limits on today. Fairly, we each drove at a tempo and in a fashion which offered ample alternative to make insightful observations and collect knowledge, whereas being respectful of the occasion organizer’s guidelines.
I believe all the pieces talked about on this part is necessary as some readers/viewers could also be confused as to why there’s no dive-bombing, precise racing, or something flamboyant going down at any level throughout our periods. Nothing about what went on that day might be going viral on social media—and albeit, that’s a part of the purpose.
Provided that the CTR and ITS share the precise similar engine—and contemplating that the latter outputs 5 hp extra resulting from a redesigned exhaust system—you shouldn’t anticipate a world of distinction between the 2 automobiles in actual world conditions.
Whereas this definitely does ring true on the circuit, there have been nonetheless perceptible variations in acceleration out of corners, significantly after I was following Chris’ Sort S. After I was shut sufficient behind, I famous that Chris would acquire round ¾ of a automobile size on my CTR after sure exits.
This helps the generally understood concept that the Integra’s K20C1 has been tuned to have better mid-range power in comparison with that within the Civic, one thing that producers typically tweak on automobiles after they wish to give them a extra fascinating demeanor on the road.
Dealing with & Braking
As we had been each sporting totally different brake compounds, it’s a lot tougher to make any determinations from a inventory vs. inventory perspective right here. Nevertheless, we will nonetheless converse concerning the dynamics of every automobile underneath braking (whereas using totally different driving types), and the way these performed an element into how each automobiles finally behaved.
This was my first time monitoring a front-wheel-drive automobile (that I’ve personally owned), and with respect to the OEM brakes on the Civic, I already knew that they lacked the chunk and precision that I’m usually used to when driving on the observe (and even the road). With this in thoughts, my technique all through the day was to get on the brakes earlier and extra gently, however trip them longer—the “protected technique” for studying a brand new automobile on the circuit.
Ah sure, path braking. Anybody who is aware of me or has ridden with me in the Porsche, is aware of that I’m a giant proponent of it and people who are attuned to driving on circuits are conversant in what this driving fashion entails. Within the movies, you’ll discover in the course of the excessive pace sector of the course (the primary two proper handers) that I’m scrubbing off an excessive amount of pace on the finish of the lengthy straights. Alternatively, Chris skillfully assaults the nook entries with later braking and a better entry pace.
Nevertheless, my technique of being a bit extra light on the pedal and using path braking throughout turns, actually performs into the FL5’s fingers as we enter the extra technical sequences of the highway course. The primary video (under) supplies a extremely good illustration of this, as visitors saved our automobiles actually shut collectively simply as we obtained pointed by—and proper because the twisties would start.
It’s right here, the place the Civic exhibits why it owns the Sort R moniker and never the opposite manner round, rotating by the corners extra gracefully. This enables the automobile to change into settled sooner and rocket by the straighter sections earlier than the subsequent curve arrives. It’s just about rinse and repeat, till we hit the entrance straight once more to finish a full lap.
I believe it’s good that the video footage we now have comes from Chris’ perspective as properly, the place you may distinctly see (and listen to) the Sort S struggling for entrance grip, significantly after the apexes. Whether or not that is because of the Acura’s softer suspension tuning, or maybe the additional mid-range energy doing extra hurt than good throughout cornering, this brings veracity to a different fashionable declare that the ITS by design, is extra understeer-y. The second video (under) repeats these observations throughout a full and clear lap, making our knowledge set extra dependable within the course of.
Again to the FL5 facet of issues, one factor I’d wish to attempt subsequent time is the “Pedal Dance” on the Civic. I watched a really attention-grabbing video (under) of a driver who does this, after which tracks in Particular person or Consolation mode to make the automobile just a little simpler to toss round. In +R mode, the steering actually corporations up and virtually resembles that of a automobile with out energy steering. Or, I may simply raise weights extra typically—both manner, I’m curious to attempt it out. The required muscle energy apart, I discovered the automobile very simple to drive and in accordance with the occasion guidelines that day, by no means as soon as got here near having any “oh $&%#” moments.
Endurance & Viability
One of many largest points with the previous-gen FK8 Sort R was overheating throughout observe use. Apart from the outside design overhaul, many contemplate the FL5’s most appreciable change to be on this division.
In comparison with its predecessor, the brand new CTR goes fairly far in mitigating the warmth issue, and there are already like-for-like exams which show that the FL5 can do more laps in succession than the FK8 underneath the identical situations. That is largely, because of a brand new front-end design and a reimagined intercooler setup. By affiliation, the Sort S additionally advantages from this, although its less-ventilated entrance bumper design may in principle, imply that it’s not fairly as environment friendly at protecting issues as cool as its Honda counterpart.
However, neither of us bumped into overheating points on the day. Nevertheless, given the balmy Fall temperatures (round 20°C), this was doubtless not going to play an element except one thing went horribly unsuitable. I recall getting the oil temp as much as ~130°C after I was in heavy visitors, although it was simple to get again into the 110°C vary with a single settle down lap.
Nearly all of Honda specialists—of which I’m blessed to know many—have reiterated that cooling points are nonetheless prone to plague those that plan to trace their Sort R, or Sort S, onerous and infrequently sufficient. In the end, which means the established order stays for that exact group of householders, who will, as earlier than, want to contemplate the aftermarket for extra sturdy oil and coolant administration techniques.
Nothing excellent when it got here to tire and brake put on for each Chris and I, although we had been diligent in managing our tire pressures and tempered our driving to make sure that it was an in any other case uneventful day. Different movies, just like the one by @TheTopher above, additionally comment that tires ought to put on evenly after a full observe day, provided that the standard precautions are taken and that it’s uncertain if both automobile has the propensity for excessive tire put on.
I believe that there’s justice in likening the CTR and ITS to Porsche’s 911 GT3 and GT3 Touring. The selection of both automobile—significantly for the “weekend warrior” crowd—ought to basically come down to private tastes, and nothing else.
However is it merely only a matter of your style sense? Or is it a bit extra nuanced than that? Most likely the latter. All of us have totally different expectations from a automobile—even when it’s the identical one in earnest.
Afterall, there are dissimilarities between the Sort R and Sort S which might be distinguishable sufficient while you start to have a look at the extra excessive outliers on the bell curve. That is the place delicate variations will make all the distinction, relying on what your priorities are.
For individuals who want a specialist on the observe—the place superb margins result in superior outcomes—then it’s the Honda Civic Sort R that you really want. On this regard, and even with efficiency apart, options equivalent to LogR, the big rear wing, and superiorly bolstered reclinable buckets within the CTR, make for a a lot clearer assertion of intent. In the event you require extra versatility, luxurious and refinement, however with no much less athleticism, then the Acura Integra Sort S is an all-star all-rounder.
Nonetheless, I’m of the opinion that having to decide on between both automobile received’t result in extreme FOMO signs down the highway. In any case, I’m pleased that Honda and Acura have teamed as much as present us with a selection—one thing that’s at all times good to have, as a client and an fanatic.