|Honda Civic Type R Mugen|
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An exclusive run of up to 20 cars will be hand-built in the UK by MUGEN, the long-standing tuner of Honda engines for motor racing. Production of the road-legal super hatch will take place at MUGEN Euro, based in Northampton - with customers receiving a unique, involved experience during the build process of each car.
Using over 20 years of experience and engineering expertise gained at the forefront of global motorsport, engineers from MUGEN in Japan and Europe analysed every component of the Swindon-built 3-door Civic Type R - before developing one of the quickest normally-aspirated front drive cars in the world.
"Each Type R MUGEN will be an exclusive, hand-built race car for the road," says Hiroki Toyoda, Vice President of MUGEN EURO. "When we launched the Civic Type RR saloon in Japan, we sold out of all 300 units in just six minutes. Given the interest we have already had from car enthusiasts in the UK and abroad, we hope to repeat that achievement."
The 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine is the first to reap the benefits of MUGEN's time in Formula 1 and GT racing, as well as hundreds of development hours and testing time with the Honda K20A engine on the world-class MUGEN engine dyno. New camshafts and a modified intake system increase power by 20 per cent to 240PS, and boost torque by 10 per cent throughout the rev range. A change of pistons also helps by increasing the compression ratio, and breathing is enhanced by fitting a custom stainless steel exhaust system and MUGEN airbox. Meanwhile, a bespoke MUGEN map for the ECU allows the engine to take full advantage of the modifications.
"MUGEN engineers pay incredible attention to detail, often measuring to one thousandth of a millimetre when tuning and rebuilding an engine, and this process typically takes approximately seven days of work," says Hiroki Toyoda.
"When our engineers aren't building customer engines, they are at circuits with top level race and rally teams helping to manage and prepare race engines. We are very proud to bring our motorsport experience to the road with this high performance Honda engine, the very first time that a MUGEN-tuned engine has ever been offered for use on the road in the UK."
The extra power of the tuned engine is transferred to road or track via a limited slip differential, and grip and handling are also significantly improved through a completely revised suspension set-up, with custom-made springs and dampers employed.
Improving the stopping power are bespoke four-piston mono-block racing brake callipers, which sit under high-density, lightweight forged alloy wheels. These weigh just 7.85kg each (32 per cent less than the production wheel), contributing to a significant reduction in unsprung weight.
MUGEN was keen to amend the already-aggressive original styling of the Civic Type R with modifications that are integrated. A large wing adorns the back of the car, and plays a role in increasing downforce at speed, to improve stability. Other measures to improve the car's overall aero efficiency include replacing front and rear skirts with high-quality composite items. At the front, a new grille wearing the MUGEN emblem enhances the nose.
Every Civic Type R MUGEN will be painted in Honda's famous Championship White - the traditional racing colour of the brand, in which its first Formula 1 car was painted back in 1964. To authenticate the car's exclusivity each will wear a special badge inside on the centre console, listing the serial number of each unique model.
To make the ultimate Type R even more extreme, particularly for circuit use, MUGEN is offering an optional 'Track Pack'. This package includes front Recaro seats, removal of the rear seat bench with a composite blanking panel fitted to reduce weight, water and oil temperature/pressure gauges, data recording equipment, and track-ready road-legal tyres.
While early engineering and development was carried out by MUGEN in Japan, a considerable amount of time has been spent honing the car for UK conditions. Engineers from the UK and Japan carried out 36 hours of suspension testing on 2200km of British roads during September, to further tune the set-up. In addition, MUGEN's engine specialists adjusted ECU mapping and throttle response - and a new exhaust system was fitted to improve resonance. Plus, the team worked on brake feel, seeing a 30 per cent improvement after three days of testing.
The production model has also benefitted from feedback gathered from UK media, and Type R enthusiasts in the UK. This information was fed into the development process and helped decide the final spec of the 20 production units.
MUGEN Euro has set the price for the Honda Civic Type R MUGEN at £38,599 OTR.
This price includes an unparalleled purchasing experience, which involves direct contact with MUGEN engineers throughout the car's build. This will be a package tailored to individual customers - similar to the service offered when buying a racing car. Each of the Type Rs will be built to the customer's exact specification, including their choice of options. Even ECU mapping can be adjusted to suit specific customer tastes or driving style.
The price also takes into account MUGEN racing engine building expertise and heritage. Put it into context, MUGEN would typically charge around £165,000 + VAT for a full racing Type R, with the engine costing about 10 per cent of this price. Only a select few have had the chance to sit behind the wheel of a Honda-MUGEN, and even fewer have owned one, so this is an extremely unique opportunity.
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