Honda Australia has made history at the Mount Panorama, Bathurst race track recently by setting a benchmark lap time for a front-wheel drive production car. The hero in question is none other than the illustrious FK8 Civic Type R, piloted by 2009 Formula One champion and Honda ambassador Jenson Button.

The CTR had no modifications – it was bone stock, and set a record lap time of two minutes 35.207 seconds (2:35.207) around the Australian racetrack. Button holds the unofficial lap record for the Mount Panorama circuit with a spectacular 1:48.8 lap time set in a Formula One car in 2011 (part of a special event to promote the Australian GP), so it was fitting that he was the one to set a benchmark time.

Button’s lap time in the Civic Type R was achieved from just 14 at-pace laps spread over a one hour session in the morning and a brief 10 minute session in the afternoon.

“Anything you drive around Mount Panorama is pretty amazing. Up across the top of the mountain, the Type R is so fast through there, so once I got into a rhythm and got used to the speed you can carry, it was really good fun,” Button said, after returning from his final time-attack run. The Brit has never raced at the track, though.

“I definitely put the car through its paces and it was a quick time, 2 minutes 35 seconds is a really good time in a front-wheel drive car and it was hot as well, so I think if it was cooler you could go a bit quicker, but I do feel like I got everything out of the car,” he noted. “The Honda Civic Type R really is the perfect car for a time attack challenge like this. And it’s 100% a road legal car that’s straight off the production line, so to do a 2 minute 35 second lap is fantastic.”

Mount Panorama is best known as the home of the Bathurst 1000 motor race, held annually in October. It’s technically a street circuit (it’s a public road for 350 days a year when no racing events are held) that’s incredibly challenging for both man and machine, and the current layout is 6.213 km in length with 23 corners and a 174-metre vertical difference between its lowest and highest points, not to mention gradients as steep as 1:6 or more than 16%.