Following the debut of the Honda Civic Type R Challenge 2018 car at the Geneva Motor Show – which will see a team of Honda racing stars attempt to break front-wheel drive production car records at famous European circuits in the FK8 Civic Type R – the Magny-Cours GP circuit in France has been conquered with a FWD record lap time of 2 minutes 1.51 seconds.

The car was piloted by WTCR driver Esteban Guerrieri, who is contesting the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup in a Honda Civic TCR with Münnich Motorsport.

“The best thing about the Type R is that it gives you confidence. It’s very responsive and gives you good feedback. People call the Type R the ultimate performance hot hatch and we proved today that it really is; the car continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible from front wheel drive,” Guerrieri said. “The beauty is we could use ‘+R mode on track but then switch to Comfort mode and drive home,” he added.

The Magny-Cours GP circuit is a 4.4 km track with a mix of slow hairpins, high-speed chicane sections and long straights. Honda says that the 320 PS/400 Nm mega hatch’s comprehensive aerodynamic package, with a best-in-class balance between lift and drag, was perfectly suited to the French track. In the hot Civic’s +R mode, the Adaptive Damper System produces a firmer, flatter ride and greater agility.

The Magny-Cours record is the first success in the Type R Challenge 2018. A similar challenge in 2016 saw Honda set benchmark lap times at Estoril, Hungaroring, Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps using the previous-generation FK2 Civic Type R. With Magny-Cours in the bag, Honda will aim to exceed the times set at these four circuits with the FK8R.

The driver line-up will include former Formula 1 champion and current NSX Super GT driver Jenson Button (UK), WTCR driver Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), NSX Super GT driver Bertrand Baguette (Belgium) and BTCC legend Matt Neal (UK).

Of course, one can’t talk Civic Type R and track records without mentioning the Nurburgring Nordschleife. In April 2017, a production development car became the fastest front-wheel drive production car ever around the Green Hell with a lap time of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds, and that has since been the Civic Type R’s calling card.

The FK8 Civic Type R was launched in Malaysia in November 2017 for RM320k. Read our full review of the dual-natured beast.

GALLERY: FK8 Honda Civic Type R