Engineering Talk #2 Designed to excite
It may be impossible to measure on a scale but the Type R engineers knew the new car had to be exciting above all else.
THRILLING FROM THE FIRST MOMENT
Performance cars come in all shapes and sizes and their abilities are measured in many different ways but to Yuya Goto, lead engineer for manoeuvrability and stability of the Civic Type R, the new car had to feel exciting as soon as the driver gripped the steering wheel.
Goto’s role was to enhance the performance of components such as the steering, suspension, engine and transmission worked together in such a way that the whole became greater than the sum of its already impressive parts. As he explains, “Each component needed top class performance, but above all, development focused on building a Type R that could bring out all of that performance.”
BIGGER AND BETTER
The starting point for Goto’s team was revising the packaging in comparison to the fifth-generation Civic Type R. both the wheel base and the track were increased, allowing the tyre size to be moved up from 235/35R19 to 245/30R20. In addition, the weight distribution was adjusted to move the centre of mass backwards, closer to the centre of the car. Finally, the rear suspension was changed completely from a torsion bean setup to a multilink suspension.
There was one intent behind all these changes according to Goto, “With the new Type R, we aimed to fully utilize the performance of the four high-grip tires. That required, most importantly, optimizing attitude changes during acceleration, deceleration, steering input, and road input, and optimum weight on each of the four tires.”
To make the most of these design and engineering changes a suite of sophisticated electronic systems were developed including variable dampers, electric power steering and Agile Handling Assist which had the results Goto intended, “With Honda’s original control logic we designed for this Type R, we realized excellent body motion control and outstanding road holding characteristics.”
TESTED ON ROAD AND TRACK
The car was tested extensively on roads such as the high-speed German Autobahn and the Nurburgring, the test track in Germany that is regarded as the toughest test for all sports cars, a mixture that would allow the engineers to ensure it would meet any test of confidence a driver might put it through.
These extensive revisions meant that the sixth-generation Civic Type R not only far surpasses the previous models but has become a ‘new-era’ performance car in Goto’s eyes, “Previous generation Type R’s would surprise the driver, on how well it would turn, or how well it would accelerate. The new Type R builds on this excitement, and with its superior basic performance, in this case stability, improved road holding performance allowed us to aim for a car that would also provide the driver with absolute confidence.” And not just confidence but the ultimate in excitement.