MY21 Civic Type R

Finally the day has come. I’ve salivated over the badge, the specs, the reviews, the legend. When the FK8 chassis arrived I knew this was the generation I had to jump in. I test drove one back in 2018, and again just to make sure 2 years later, and promptly pulled the trigger.

Having decimated my bank account because if you can avoid finance why pay extra it is now officially mine and I still can’t quite believe this is real.

Racing blue best colour. Only available with the MY2021 updated model, which, incidentally, is now completely sold out because Swindon’s filled their allocations. Not to mention the whole debacle with parts being backed up and unable to dock at port because Brexit, and also, that Swindon is shutting soon, again because Brexit. Maybe they’ll retool in Ohio or Thailand, who knows, but as it stands, maybe we won’t see any more of this edition until the next gen in 2022. So this spec may end up a fairly rare one!

I deliberately took my mother with me to the dealership for the car reveal so I could record her reaction. My bet was that she’d either have a stroke or beat me with a rolled up newspaper. She actually took it far better than I expected, perhaps because she knew I was up to something by the way I completely just sprung it on her, and perhaps because she could already see the motherfucking wing from under the veil. I should never forget, between my parents, she was the one who knew a little bit about cars. Dad was completely clueless.

It’s windy and dusty today. Half an hour of ownership and it’s covered in specks already smh

Next to the notorious Peapod, which has served me well on the roads, off the roads, through sunshine and apocalyptic weather. I’ll pass it along to my mother, but I know one day she’ll want to go back to another Mazda6.

So first impressions? Well what I can add is that now that this car is actually mine I kinda have no choice but to deal with the infotainment FML :joy: And the dash cams. As for driving, well, like any new car that one actually owns, I pretty much grannied it home so I’ll tell you how it does for hypermiling first LOL.

Still feels surreal. Gonna go try out the Android auto and stuff now.


They could build it in Japan instead, as was the case for the first Type R (and the third-gen 4-door model), but we’ll never know for sure until they actually tell us exactly where it will be built.

As for the car itself… The looks have actually grown on me, but it doesn’t change the fact that, regardless of how it looks, in addition to being the best FWD hot hatch on sale, it’s still the best hot hatch on sale, full stop - and one of the best driver’s cars available at any price.

Some additional notes:

  • The fake piped sound in R mode is extremely synthetic and not fantastic. If I think of it as purpose-built only to tell me the pitch of the engine note as an indication of when to shift, then it’s ok.
  • There’s a hundred thousand too many options in the UI, with stuff like how long the lights stay on when you exit the car and walk away with the keys in your pocket and all that jazz. That said the ability to change the volume of the various beeps and alerts is handy.
  • When reviewers complain that the “sound quality from the stereo isn’t great”, that’s because it’s the stock 6 speaker sound system you’ll find in the low-mid regular trims, not the fancy-pants 10 speaker BOSE sound system in the RS, or the Mazda Turbo for example. And you know what? 10 speakers is more weight. I don’t exactly need that in here.
  • Reviewers say you can do all your business in any of the 3 driving modes: Comfort, Sport or R+. I beg to differ: the modes actually change your driving behaviour. I’ve stuck the cars in Comfort on the drive home and had a sudden urge to hypermile it all the way. But sticking it in Sport or R+ makes a very compelling case for really sticking the boot in.
  • The car has oodles of grip but due to the relatively stiff suspension setup and the stiffness of the chassis casually throwing it around a roundabout like I used to in Peapod will trigger the ESC far more often. I have to get used to this new handling feel.
  • But on that token, switching from torsion beam to multilink does wonders for road contact AND ride quality. The ride is firm but pliant (favourite reviewer word), but in the 9th gen Civic it was actually quite crashy over bumps and that’s with 55 profile tyres.

  • The teardrop shifter with the counterweight makes a subtle but appreciable difference in the ease of shifting. if this makes sense, it’s now much easier to sense the pace of shifting so you don’t make the car uncomfortable by thrashing the gearbox. It’s also much easier to find second now.
  • Alcantara steering wheel is really nice. But I also do wonder how it’ll feel in about 3 years lol
  • I do agree that the display and the reverse camera etc. aren’t in great resolution, but again hey, it works, and I’m paying for the drive.

More notes now that I’ve gone for a late night drive (but forgot to download the dashcam footage):

  • Lane Keep Assist actually keeps your car in the lane pretty well. Adaptive cruise control cuts out almost all of the annoying work I have to do dealing with weird drivers on the freeway. This means the car effectively is capable of Level 3 Autonomy, but currently insists on human steering input at least once a minute otherwise it gets grumpy (I didn’t let it go further because I suspect it would disengage and/or stop the car in the middle of the highway)
  • The auto headlight feature includes hi-beam, which works I would say about 90% effectively. Australia’s regional back roads are a challenge because there’s a lot of crests and dips but also extremely reflective signs and sometimes they shone so brightly the sensors got confused and dipped my hi-beams and refused to turn them back on again unless I manually intervened
  • I’ve now discovered that a common complaint among FK8 drivers of multiple trims is that Android Auto navigation really intrusively activates the turn-by-turn display on the dash. I’ve tried turning it off multiple times by deleting the widget from my display lineup, and reinstalling Android Auto and disabling it, but the bloody thing keeps activating itself! Not to mention it is pretty much set to 1km in advance and can’t be changed, so instead of my lovely boost gauge or whatever I want to see, I keep getting the bloody thing in my face when all I need is to look at the map on the touchscreen.
  • The touchscreen isn’t that bad. You just have to touch it as little as possible
  • I’m starting to appreciate the criticism that the steering feels “a bit numb” or the chassis “isn’t playful” like the Hyundai. It’s best felt throwing the car around roundabouts or doing sudden jinks. When the reviewer says the car feels “planted” it means that it uses sheer mechanical grip and the chassis’ dogged determination to keep the wheels firmly in contact with the road at all times. It is purposeful and hefty. The i30N does a bit of a hop and a skitter, but frankly, it also feels hefty mainly because compared to the Civic it’s a fatass.
  • The ride and throttle response mapping between Comfort, Sport and R+ mode is very noticeable. And to be honest, so too is the increased damping rate and stiffer rear sway bar. Even driving on a near perfectly flat road with the cruise control on, switching from R+ to Sport to Comfort changes the quality of the ride. I’m also starting to come around to the idea that maybe the Honda engineers were right not to allow the driver to mix and match steering, damping rates and throttle response between the modes. Comfort mode is for when I’m chauffering my mother around. The full response and power on tap in R+ mode requires certain conditions and commitment.
  • As is with true manuals there is no protection from accidentally grinding the gears. I am ashamed to admit that I did this ever so slightly when slamming into second on a hard launch. The launch is difficult. But it is very much in its element when already rolling. I don’t know what the guy in the Ford Ranger was thinking trying to drag me up the on-ramp :fu::joy:
  • The fake engine note in R+ mode is “helpful”. Not exactly pleasant, but helpful, because aside from the turbo noises which are pretty subtle in themselves, the engine’s actually pretty quiet. This is actually good for when I just want to drive normally and play tunes. On the other hand the road noise is significant mainly due to the stupid profile tyres (the cabin sound deadening is a significant improvement), so long road trips on anything other than a perfect surface may be a bit of a chore…
  • I still haven’t found the true limits of the lateral grip of this car because to do that would be like playing in traffic with a blindfold on. There are some roads that will allow me to do this but it’ll take some time to get there, but better obviously would be a track. Speaking of which I have a contact to get in touch with now…
  • Fuel economy isn’t bad. After 30% freeway, 30% heavy traffic, 30% winding B-road in a reasonable fashion, and 10% driving like I’m on meth, I’m returning 7.9L/100km. I think on the Michelin Pilot Sports my regular FK2 Civic would be getting mid 7s. On the less sporty tyre it would have been 7.3.

First, happy new year. 2021 starts exactly where 2020 left off but maybe we can see how the latter half might go if the nuclear war clock doesn’t strike midnight…

On a happier note yet more thoughts about the Type R:

  • I fucking scratched the tip of my left mirror :cry: on a pole that was placed too close to the kerb because I was focusing on not scraping my very-not-fixable 20 inch rims. It’s small but it bothers me a lot. Good thing I have paint insurance specifically for this kind of issue :laughing: . Wonder if I can get a 2-for-1 for the extremely tiny stone chip on the right skirt…

wait this isn’t exactly a happy thought aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • The turning circle is a fair bit larger than previously. I think this is because of the longer wheelbase. At 11.4m it’s now just insufficient to do a U-turn across a standard width suburban road which is actually somewhat inconvenient. Reverse parking and getting the angle right is noticeably more difficult.
  • I’m finally used to the braking distance on hard driving. It’s abnormally short and when going full chat the appropriate time to stop is usually about half a second past the point where you think “I am definitely going to die if I don’t brake now”. Let’s say one’s doing a hillclimb/downhill, and the top speed before a hairpin is about 100km/h. The 100-0 stopping distance is 32m (in the dry) and the tightest hairpin I can take at 50km/h, which means I only need to apply the brakes a measly 4 car lengths before the turn-in. I will note that the brakes in the regular grocery-getter Fk2 (i.e. Peapod) weren’t half bad either, stopping in 34.5m on stock tyres (and less again on my Pilot Sport 4s), the main difference being the bite feel is more progressive and doesn’t fade in the Type R. It’s quite mind-boggling that the brake feel and fade is indeed improved compared to the original Type R using a lighter floating-disc design.

yes, cross-drilled looks awesome, but these cool better

  • This said, I have noticed that despite being mostly fuss-free, the rear end can get a little lively under heavy braking while downshifting (over a crest). For a sample of the brakes in action, here was a quick test on one of those weird Australian roads where the speed limit “should be assumed to be 100” because it’s not marked, but the powers that be didn’t actually bother to rezone the limit for the hairpin complex, meaning one can go ham and not actually be doing anything illegal…

yeah at this point I was still not used to the car so I wasn’t quite giving it maximum

  • On this note I’m using footage from my security cameras, but maybe I should invest in another camera from face height instead of near roof height with wide-angle… then again I may have another integrated solution for this which I will discuss later.
  • I am now quite used to the power. I didn’t think I would be saying this, but at 306hp the car feels a bit too easy to drive. So I, uh, am going to upgrade it.
  1. K&N Performance Air Filter. There were 2 main choices for the Type R and this one racked up universally favourable impressions with no noted issues. We’ll see whether it’s actually cleanable. As dyno’d should be good for about a 5Hp and 5Nm (across range) increase. Also the exhaust sound is a little fruitier in cabin which is a small bonus.
  2. ECU reflash. The two major options here are K-Tuner and HONDATA. After some research it looks like there’s a shop near me that’s been doing Hondas since 1980 and is highly regarded. So I’ve dropped them a line and will see what they say when they open again about doing a jailbreak and reflash. They’ll probably try to convince me to drop in an intercooler and get the exhaust done too. I could be tempted, because to be honest the intercooler really does a lot for overheating, and the HKS straight pipes system comes with the promise to reduce that annoying turbo resonance at highway speeds… all up I’m told that with those done I could run tunes from anywhere between 320-360hp.
  3. but despite the tail waggle under braking I don’t think I’ll be getting any coil over kits. This is still my daily driver road car. Though if I ever do track it and want to do it more than once, I’ll definitely consider some 18 inch wheels and semi-slicks.

2 months in…

  • I got my first speeding ticket in this car. I tend to get one every 3 years, which is annoying, because 3 years is the statutory limit for penalty points on one’s license so I had enjoyed my clean license for a grand total of, you guessed it, 2 months. And it wasn’t because I was trying to drive fast. It was because I wasn’t keeping track and drove the minimum penalisable excess speed over the posted speed limit and some stupid camera snapped me, which is always what happens when I get a speeding ticket except that one time I tried racing against the weather to get to a wedding and got suspended for driving on the wrong side of the freeway in zero visibility rain doing 138km/h in a 100km/h zone
  • I replaced the stock air filter with a K&N drop-in. Some people complained that the MAF sensor got fouled up by the oil in the K&N but it so transpired those people were cleaning their filters with way too much oil, and nobody else who did it properly had any issues. So far I’m loving it: there’s a small but noticeable improvement in throttle response, and I’m pretty sure there’s a significant boost to fuel economy, with a maximum estimate of 5% (probably closer to 3) because when I do a hypermile test I’m hitting figures I certainly didn’t think possible at first. And most importantly, now those whooshy chuff turbo noises are much more prominent. Priorities :joy:

The K&N in box

The engine bay with K20C1 in situ

Unclip the airbox and pry it open, then lever out the filter

And simply drop the new filter in and clean it maybe once a year
And of course here’s a brief clip featuring the CTR sneezing… sorry for the shit camera work it’s not like I should even be trying to do this which is why it’s not going on YouTube lol

  • I’ve now confirmed that sometime in May (or maybe after, since I’m trying to finally get married in May, thanks COVID), I’ll get the car into the shop for that ECU flash and HONDATA OBD, plus exhaust. I’ve decided to go with the Invidia Q300 catback and a catted Invidia downpipe (I don’t wanna fail emissions and I don’t wanna breathe fumes), all 3" (stock is 2.5"). Hoping to hit 360hp on dyno (maybe 350whp, but since it’ll be catted might be a bit less). But that’s a ways away so I’ll get more time with the car as is for now.

My Speed3 has had a Cobb reusable pod filter on it since before I bought it. in the 62,000 miles and almost 4 years I’ve had it, I’ve had no issues with my MAF. I think you’re right about it just being those who use too much oil. Granted I had the opposite problem and would forget to clean it. I ended up just replacing mine a few months ago.

and not cleaning it wouldn’t be too much of an issue either, I mean it just gets dirty and less efficient lol.

There’s a lot of skeptics and armchair experts who drop the whole “if this was really the best product for the job x manufacturer would have provided it stock from the get go” which is clearly a load of rubbish. If I lived in a place with considerably poorer air quality maybe I’d think twice about a performance filter, but, like everything else, there’s a huge amount of tolerance built into the specs here.

The ONLY thing I dislike about K&N filters is that it adds an additional two maintenance items to the list. (Vehicle dependant)

On MAF equipped cars, adding a K&N means when you clean the filter, you should also clean the MAF.
On MAP equipped cars, this is a non issue.

Not an issue for me since as a mechanic, I keep MAF cleaner on hand most times anyway. A can is maybe $8 at most auto parts stores, so it’s hardly the end of the world. Been using the same one for almost a year and I’ve saved a couple people from buying expensive new MAFs with it months apart.

Ans they probably don’t due to concerns of noise. That and as a defensive barrier against warranty claims from areas with a lot of dust in the air (deserts, dirt roads, etc.). I know the Speed3’s stock airbox was fairly restrictive, so most all of them have pod filters anyway. Plus I like hearing turbo noise.

5000km later

Just coz I’m not making cars in Automation until the updates no longer break the cars doesn’t mean I won’t update this thread!

  • Definitely feeling the love when I meet fellow Type R drivers on the road, but also when I pull into any enthusiast automotive place. This is very nice.
  • The transmission has now loosened up nicely, quick shifts are much easier. 1st to 2nd is still a chore but that’s apparently quite expected given the ratios are so far apart. I notice when I get tired I sometimes get locked out of 4th, that’s probably because I pull the knob too much towards me instead of directly down. Otherwise for the most part it’s good, if a bit more play in the action than I like. I asked about whether I should get different bushings or change shifter kit but have been advised this can actually make shifts less precise and put more strain on other moving parts so maybe I’ll just leave it be.
  • The on-board fuel economy calculator is a bit too flattering. It quotes 5% better mileage than I actually get, and this is apparently universal across all models
  • I got my wheels rotated and rebalanced today. Turns out that the awkwardly placed manhole cover I whacked my wheel into gave it an extra 0.2 degrees of toe which was bad :joy:
  • Then when I drove off I don’t know if I was just thinking things but the steering feel was better but I felt the grip and handling was off. I thought “maybe they didn’t bother checking the tyre pressures”. Then I took a couple of sharp corners fast and the car shat itself and I nearly binned it. Turns out yep, the tyre pressures weren’t looked at and since the fronts are set to 35 and the rear 33… you can imagine what happens in a front-biased car when the front pressures are less than the rear LOL. I suspect the change was also exacerbated by the ridiculously low 30 profile, plus the Contis are notorious for having a soft side-wall which I imagine would make them even more sensitive to underfilling. Moral of the story: pressures and balance really matter in performance tyres.

Also I now have an even bigger wishlist of upgrades. I’ll update the list:

  • ECU flash and HONDATA OBD
  • Invidia 3" downpipe (catted coz I don’t wanna torpedo my next roadworthy)
  • Invidia Q300 catback
  • HKS intercooler
  • HONDATA iridium fuel injectors w/ fuel lines so I can run flex up to E85
  • RAYS TE37 (18x9.5")
  • Yokohama A052 tyres (265/18ZR35)

All up this list will probably top 10000 Aussie dollarydos, fuck :joy:

The engine and tune shop has been very slow to get back to me, which is fine because I need to figure out my budget after my bank balance gets decimated again by a wedding and a home loan. The tyre people were like “we have these items in stock if you want we can do it tomorrow” and I’m like hol up lmao. I also did ask around, yes, the different dimensions will ruin the scrub angle and all that but while this will make the torque steer a bit noticeable everybody who changes wheels says that it’s barely a problem to the point it’s a non-issue

But yeah if I can afford it I’mma totally do it and get back to you. Right now the only time I can pull the advertised 1.2g lateral cornering is if the road’s warm enough and I pull hard enough to activate ESC. The really weird thing about this car is that it makes what should be pretty crazy performance feel completely normal and easy which is why everybody gets tempted to give it like a hundred more horses clearly…


13000km later, Stage 1 tuned

Been a while between drinks. My car is just about 1 year old now, and due to COVID messing schedules up, I was delayed by a few months but finally the Stage 1 was completed.

“What’s a Stage 1?” I hear you ask. That’s a good question, now that the Bolt-On Tuner scene for the FK8R has more or less matured.

Type R tuning has a few distinct paths, most of which got started before anything really stuck but now (to me) there’s a clear popular choice because it’s so easy and modular. In short there’s the methanol path, the built turbo path, and the FBO (Full Bolt On) path. Bolt-on, because it’s the automotive equivalent of USB (okay maybe a bit of an exaggeration), but definitely it’s all plug and play because the bits modified are easily replaced.

What makes it that much easier? The fact that tuners have finally come to grips with the new operation of the ECU (which is actually supplied by BOSCH for the Type R, and requires jail breaking). So now you can make a whole suite of adjustments thanks to HONDATA and K-Tuner and probably a few more besides. Without that, only very limited gains can be made, because even if you derestricted air-flow etc. the ECU would still reference the default maps.

For the nerds: if I understand correctly the ECU estimates torque demand based on throttle position, assesses other conditions (driving mode, temperature, rpm etc.), then calculates an “air charge” which is then matched to fuel load. This seems to be a different order of doing it compared to previous ECUs, and the fact the BOSCH documentation of reference tables is like 20000 pages long, may be why it took like over 2 years to crack. Also, while there is a degree of “boost by gear” and this is configurable once you jailbreak the ECU, the TCS seems to be primarily done through ignition timing retardation, which I don’t understand at all. Makes me wonder if this is the reason that the TCS doesn’t seem to do jack :joy:

In their usual wisdom and emphasis on reliability and daily usability, Honda have seriously sandbagged the ECU mapping. The other limiting factor is the airflow, mainly everything after the turbo i.e. the downpipe and catback. The FK8R’s stock exhaust is 2.5" diameter, and the general recommendation for tuning to the limits of street is to increase to 3" diameter, thereby reducing airflow restriction by 50%

As a reminder, the dyno run sheet below (not mine) is a decent representation of a stock FK8R with the 308hp tune. They tend to report getting 290-295hp at the wheels depending on fuel used. This represents drivetrain losses of under 5% which is attributed in part to the layout.

Which brings me back to what I’ve actually done to the car. Stage 1 means Stage 1 ECU, so basically no extra parts necessary but reducing the extra tolerances as much as is reliably possible to achieve higher peak output, higher torque, but also a smoother power curve, depending on your preferences and conditions and the tuner. My ride’s always going to be a daily so my tuner’s brief was to get as much out as possible without running the risk of pinging and going into limp mode in variable conditions, particularly if I’m sitting in gridlocked traffic in Summer, because that’s when the intake temps get up to 70C which is…bad.

Nonetheless in order to take full advantage of these changes and any further, the airflow should be derestricted. Which is why I also had an Invidia 3" catted downpipe and Q300 catback installed.

the stock catback laid next to the car. I did place it upside down by accident, whoops

a closer view of the muffler with the “resonator” chamber. Frankly all the system achieved was a drone at highway speeds, which was one of my reasons for swapping it out

oh god oh fuck I’ve become one of those ricer kids in my rice rocket. I have an excuse though, it’s that I literally forgot to ask for the graphite tip option and the default is burnt titanium finish lol. ngl it’s grown on me, and it actually suits the blue

stock exhaust cold start and rev. Ambient temp was like 2C with 50% humidity hence the smoke

Q300 cold start and rev. Ambient temp this time was like 20C and dry.

How does it sound in the cabin? A hell of a lot bassier for one. Unfortunately there’s no way to improve air flow without increasing noise, so it’s also a hell of a lot louder in the cabin LOL. There’s some transient drone at lower speeds, and now that I have both downpipe AND catback, basically I get this really resonant band between 1300-1500 AND 1700-2000 rpm, which makes my hypermiling commute kind of annoying :joy: What I should have realised is that nobody else who has modded their Civic talks about these things because they drive the hell out of their car and get like 21mpg, whereas I drive like a granny 90% of the time and get over 30. It’s gotten to the point where I have to select a lower gear just to adjust the cabin noise sometimes.

But that’s a small price to pay compared to the improvement in performance. Here’s my new dyno sheet:

To translate this dyno chart shows 328hp at the wheels (on 98RON). The team actually achieved 345hp at the wheels before dialling it back to give more leeway (for the hot weather) and also to smoothen out the curve as much as possible. Also note the bump from a stock 400Nm to a stupendous 495Nm at 3300rpm. Does the butt dyno notice? Hell yes the butt dyno notices. First time I took the on-ramp I did the usual giving it the boot in third which normally gets me going without too much fuss. This time the wheels lit up, so now I can do a burnout in first, second and third in the dry. Even when I’m not going all out, the throttle response is more immediate and resulting shove is eye-opening. I’m going to say this is definitely as much as the stock tyres can handle.

But the funny thing is, other than the noise, when I drive the car normally, it still feels completely normal. And that’s the magic of this particular Type R, is how far you can go with it without changing the daily character.

What next?

Stage 2 of course! Give it a few months while I save up some more money research the options, but basically the pillar of stage 2 for bolt ons is the fuel injector kit. The FK8R is one of those cars that doesn’t like ethanol for weird reasons. HONDATA, bless them, made a breakthrough and developed a flex fuel injector kit and lines with a stronger fuel pump. Fuel flow and to a degree octane rating is the next limiting factor. Address this, and on E85 you can get over 400whp, maybe even 450.

At this point however you will want to back this up with several things. One is temperature management. Which means air flow. Namely a cold air intake system and also a new intercooler, because the stock one has narrow piping that runs at acute angles for weird reasons. The other is traction, because no street-driven FWD car manages over 400whp without some serious rubber. As I mentioned in the previous post the popular choice tends to be the 18x9.5 TE37 rims but the problem with this is that even with 35 profile tyres this often gets bundled with shorter springs, which then shortens the shock travel and preloads them which messes with the damping settings, and I don’t want to actually change too much with the suspension because for street purposes it’s perfectly fine. I’ll have to think about this.

Also I haven’t even had the chance to track it yet, but that needs to happen at least once. If I do, I might consider changing the brake pads and fluid. The brake feel is nice, but still very decidedly “street friendly”, in that there’s still a fair bit of give on initial travel which doesn’t give one huge amounts of confidence when braking from well over freeway speeds. I don’t think I’m serious enough to actually change the discs and rotors given that they do several hard stops with zero fade, and I can tolerate a degree of squeak given that my shopping cart Peapod had squeaky pads and those were OEM :joy:

We’ll see. If I can get a video that conveys how it runs I’ll put that up too.


22000km later…

…and the stock 245/30ZR20 Continental SportContact 6 tyres are shot. I knew the tyre life was short but that is short for a car I haven’t even tracked yet :joy: To be fair I did neglect to rotate the tyres from 12000km onwards and because the front camber is fairly negative this put a lot more wear on the inside edge of those tyres, which have since been rotated to the back. As a result, the oversteer characteristic is now, shall we say, rather pronounced and I cannot corner with any genuine sense of urgency without blasting 90s Eurobeat. And since tread is on average 1mm elsewhere I cannot drive the car in the wet which is convenient given it is now Winter over here.

The usual wisdom is now to also swap out the OEM wheels for nearly every conceivable reason:

  • The stock wheels weigh over 28lbs or almost 13kg each which is a real c h o n k
  • The tyres for the stock wheel belong on something like a Mclaren and are therefore a good >20% more expensive than, say, the far more common 265/35R18 with way more tyre choices
  • Which also nets me a significantly larger contact patch which is even more important because I also have 15% more power than stock and this will increase a lot within the next year
  • And a better ride
  • And with the increased width the fitment will be more flush with the arch

The one drawback of using a wider wheel is a small increase in torque steer, which, thanks to the suspension geometry, is already quite mute and literally nobody who makes the switch cares. Plus all of that can be mitigated by using the appropriate offset which, since all the wheel manufacturers worth considering know CTR owners are shopping for wheels, any wheel worth considering will have a good offset.

Buying new rims for the CTR

This is the point where you might think I would poll people on which wheels I should get, but to be truthful I’ve been researching wheels since the start of this year knowing this day would eventually come. The first criteria was that it has to be properly forged. The second is that it has to be light. Given this, as previously mentioned one brand stands out: RAYS. The relative newcomer, Titan also rates a mention given they can almost match the lightness and offer most of the strength for a cheaper price, but the benchmark remains RAYS. In the previous post I mentioned that the TE37 series remained a popular choice, given it is the mascot of serious JDM track machines since the 90s. But I personally don’t think the thick 6 spoke design suits the angular, complicated look of the current Type R, even though the rims themselves are super sexy especially in the latest and greatest (and most expensive) Black Edition iii guise:

Of very similar weight and strength in the Volk Racing series are the more modern but lesser known ZE40, which I think would have suited better

but they’re actually pretty hard to source in the right PCD and my preferred colour, and there’s one candidate that might suit even better…

…the CE28. Or more specifically, CE28 Club Racer ii, because this latest iteration goes for maximum rigidity, but at the exact same weight as the TE37, which is 18lbs or 8.2kg (an incredible 4.8kg saving on each corner)


Truthfully, there are plenty of CTRs out there with any and all of the above rims, so quality and handling wise I think any of the above 3 would be more than fit for purpose. In their latest spec they’re also about equally (and exorbitantly) priced. It comes down to a matter of taste and availability.

So yeah, these arrived in the shop today:

I’m fully vibrating now, can’t wait for these to arrive so I can get some new rubber on. Unfortunately we have a real supply chain crisis going on at the moment, so the only adequate rubber available right now are Pilot Sport 5s. I kind of wanted PS4S, or Conti SportContact7s, but they’ll do. More photos to come when it’s done, of course.

Also meets have started up again in earnest, so I’mma get in amongst it.

and in the meantime it’s getting relegated to weekend car status, because fuel prices and my wife’s Prius is less than half the price to run lol


I have a few coworkers at the Honda dealer I work at with Type Rs. One of them already swapped the stock 20"s for 18"s for the same reasons you listed above and another is considering it. I believe the one who did got the Volks, but I don’t remember exactly. Another coworker with a sport also got the Volks, so maybe I’m confusing them. All of them also really dislike how fast the stock 20"s wear out and how bad they ride. I can’t comment as I’ve only gotten to drive Type Rs myself twice (one of which was actually earlier today), and both only short distances.

What I can say from experience is that I absolutely hate mounting super low profile tires. At least these aren’t also run-flats like on BMWs or Corvettes. I’ve done enough of those to never want them on any car of mine, even if I’m not the one mounting them. But back to the subject at hand, all the rims posted suit these cars well. You’ll definitely enjoy the switch from what I’ve heard.

And they’re on! The odo sits at 23455km which I need to remember for rotation purposes.

I ended up getting a set of ADVAN Neova AD08R because they were selling 4 for 3 (bargain!) and have better dry performance than the PS5. Wet performance, eeeehhhh but then again who’s gonna be sending it in a flood :sweat_smile:

Initial impressions, which are very scant, but the difference palpable enough to be immediately noticeable:

  • slightly better throttle response
  • much better longitudinal grip (no more lighting up in 2nd and sometimes 3rd when boost hits)
  • I agree with the criticism that the tyre feels a bit “numb” hence…
  • still haven’t found the limits of lateral grip but it’s definitely more than I thought
  • stiffer sidewall, less rolling
  • slightly less road noise
  • less harsh ride over sudden bumps, but still plenty firm
  • approximately the same fuel economy

Next thing I’m gonna have to do is replace the brake fluid before I track it, and possibly just upgrade the entire brake setup anyway (not sure what to do with the fitment, will need to research). After that will be addressing the chassis rigidity and possibly some lightening before moving onto the BIG power bump.


I just put in an order for the chassis rigidity upgrades, and got my tuner to price me up for the power and brake upgrades which my wallet’s gonna need some time to prepare for no doubt.

None of it is on yet, so in the meantime I’m just living my best life

Hanging around with my people, wearing whatever the hell I want

Seriously tho fuck driving in heels

bitches :sunglasses:



Merry Christmas to you all!

Due to real-life (work, buying a house, moving in, more work, picking up a new hobby 3 days a week, going to all the car meets I said I was going to go), I haven’t had time to play Automation, or even most videogames in general, let alone post on this forum in the last 5 months. But this is like the one place I actually periodically document the FK8 Type R ownership experience so I might as well keep going.

2 years in now, and the car’s done 26500km. It’s started out as 99.9% daily commute, and over this year has become more 30% commute, 50% meets and hard driving, and 20% road trips. Also it’s now gained the nickname “Angry Blueberry”. To be honest thanks to petrol prices and upkeep I’ve been mostly driving my wife’s 2008 Prius, because between the tyres (over 2 grand for 200TW, which wouldn’t be a problem except I have a mortgage and interest rates have jumped over an entire percentage point in the last 3 months :laughing: ) and the petrol prices, plus the pain of damaged paintwork and worn out body parts it’s just that much cheaper to run. However it still does the “visit the family interstate” duty because it has lanekeep assist and adaptive cruise control which makes it that much easier to road trip. Plus the road noise isn’t that bad and the ride’s actually comfier to the point if I don’t have to pee, I don’t have to stop.

Anyway finally it’s time for the

As mentioned almost 5 months ago, I put in an order for Spoon rigid collars and a rigid plate for the underbody. Couple days ago I finally found the time to get the car into the shop to get them installed.


Now with infinitely less play between the chassis and the subframe

While underneath, the guys at the shop also noticed that whoever touched my undertray last either failed to bolt it in properly or the bolts had worked their way loose, I suspect a combination of both considering the state of some of the roads I have to drive on. Oh, and that my exhaust had developed a small leak :sob:

“Do any of these mods make a difference?” I hear you ask. “Or is it just so you can flex having Spoon Parts?” (because now every time I think about my car having Spoon parts I pop a giant rock hard boner or something). The answer is actually: yes, it makes a big difference! Honestly I was asking the same question of the YouTube reviewers and others who swear by these mods but prior to actually getting them installed I did do several weeks worth of research into exactly what parts I wanted.

So what’s the difference with the rigid collars and the brace? First, the rigid collars remove ALL play between the attachment points between chassis and subframe. Originally there’s about 2mm of space around the bolts, and these collars are slightly malleable and therefore “sink” in and complete fill the gap. Therefore instead of the car being like two pieces that might slide or judder a bit under cornering and bumps, the entire thing becomes a single piece. The transfer of force through these points becomes instant, and the suspension travel and camber should become more stable too. Second, the rigid brace is a single piece where the stock Type R just had two plates that reinforced each side of the subframe, which increases the torsional rigidity of the body.

The tangible difference is that cabin vibration from bumps has been eliminated. Any kind of delay in the feel and response over bumps has also sharpened significantly and the sensitivity of feel of bumps and grooves in the road has heightened another level. While the damping hasn’t changed, “Comfort” mode now feels more like “Sport” mode, “Sport” mode like “R+” mode and in R+ I can feel every change in the surface of the road to the nth degree, but because the suspension rates haven’t changed the ride isn’t crashy or jittery. The steering wheel moves around less over bumps, and the already ultra direct steering has somehow become even more direct, to a degree that I have to actually get used to the timing when I’m chucking it through tight spaces again because the response times to sharp steering input has reduced even further. All this being said, I don’t think it reduces the daily drive ability of this car at all: if you own one of these cars already chances are you’re not after bump dampening.

What this mod won’t do is increase total lateral grip. It also won’t decrease axle tramp when launching (too) hard. For that one will need a rear engine mount brace, but this is a bad idea in a street-driven vehicle because it will definitely introduce significant vibration into the transmission especially when cruising. Also, a tower strut brace is useless in this car because the towers are literally in the corner of the engine bay already, so the brace will add precisely zero additional rigidity :laughing:

Where to next?

The release of the FL5 has influenced my modding decisions as what I’m effectively doing is seeing how much of the fundamental improvements in the FL5 I can either emulate or exceed on an FL5 budget (which is to say about 15-20000AUD, not counting the tyres because they’re all the same price). As it stands, I feel I’ve got the extra power, the improved ride and handling, and chassis rigidity covered, but I don’t have the superior turbo airflow nor the flywheel. This said my end goal for power is quite a lot higher, but due to the interest rate rises and the fact my other overheads are pretty expensive, I’ve had to delay the main stage 2 power mods. I probably won’t be able to afford them for another year or so but fortunately with a bit of luck and some giddy-up from my administrative overlords at that time I’ll be in for a significant pay rise. So perhaps if I can secure that position that’ll be my “treat yoself” moment and then it’ll be time for the Flex Fuel and the Big Turbo.

Until then, given the extra go, I need some extra stop. I’ve seen too many FK8Rs with burnt out brakes because some chump sent it too hard on the track and boiled the brake fluid off (it’s DOT3 stock) and everything else bad that follows. So I’ve got myself booked in for a brake upgrade. Honestly the 4 pot Brembos up front are already perfectly powerful enough but for improved firmness of pedal travel, improved bite and improved temperature management while keeping it street, I’ll be switching to DBA 4000 T3 rotors, Endless MX72 pads and Endless RF650 brake fluid. Hopefully at that point the shop guys can also spot weld my exhaust and check the undertray again to see if any of the bolts keep unwinding.


Another 6 months later: First Track day!

Lots of updates this time around!

  • The undertray bolt issue has not resurfaced. I suspect the real reason it was damaged in the first place was because a long time ago, I didn’t see a funny shaped bike-lane kerb while making a turn off and I absolutely slammed into it. As long as I don’t do anything that dumb in future it should be fine.
  • The brakes are in: as intended, DBA 4000 T3 discs, Endless MX-72 pads, and Endless RF650 brake fluid. The rear pads took ages to arrive due to some supply issue and by the time I got them Endless appear to have forgotten my order and so I now have a free extra set of front pads. Score!



  • The exhaust, which as mentioned was found to be leaky, was also finally replaced under warranty and the difference is like night and day. Whereas I was getting that horrible resonant tin drone between 1700-2100 and 3400-4200, that’s all gone and the sound is finally just as advertised. So for the record: a proper Invidia Q300 system has no drone. None.

Shiny new boom box yeeeeeeah!

  • Been having the chance to hang out and go for cheeky drives a bit so here’s an obligatory out and proud photo as the straightest Civic driver:

On to the track!

Last weekend, after some weather-related delays, I finally got a chance to do something I’ve wanted to do for years: track my own car.

Wakefield is still shut pending an acquisition and mitigation of the noise complaint that got it shut down, so we went to Pheasant Wood Circuit, halfway between Sydney and Canberra. Incidentally the operators of this track are the same ones who just bought Wakefield which is actually a very promising thing:

Clockwise direction, about 1.4km which is to say it’s small and tight. The surface is excellent, and corners 4 and 9 are deeply cambered (5 is bad camber). The only runoff is at the end of the straight and at turn 8, otherwise if you mess up it’s the wall, which scares a lot of drivers off. The lap record is 53.7s, held by a race-spec Porsche GT2 RS, but heading in with less than half the power and a lot less performance, I was kind of expecting more in the realm of 1:03-4. I’ve done karts but I’ve never tracked a car let alone mine so I had some more modest performance partially because if I don’t do that, I tend to send it too hard and in this case that could quite easily end with a wrecked car. So assuming that I had 3-4 sessions in the day, I basically set myself an goal to build up slowly by learning the track first before feeling out the limits of track and car. Fortunately I was with a friend who has an i30N with stock power, and seeing as on paper my car is slightly more capable than hers but she’s tracked here before, I thought it’d be a good idea to follow her around for at least the first session.

Knowing this, I got to take the track at about a 70-80% pace while observing my lines and hers, and as she pitted a lap earlier than I did, I gave it a bit more attack for the last one and returned a 1:03.00. Much better than I expected.

Now on this particular day there were several people travelling to Sydney for the VW Nationals, as well as a racing school teaching people to drive using the legendary Sexcel (Hyundai Excel Coupe), the most revered of godawful cheap shitbox, and a couple of Nissan Pulsar SSS:

Why is this important? Because the fastest one of them (the yellow sexcel) was running times in the mid 1:02s. Upon realising this I was mortified. No fucking way was I gonna get beaten by that shitbox. Even if they were being driven by pro-driver aspirants and the cars were modified to the hilt with race suspension so stiff the cars were literally tripoding into turn 1.

Session 2, I went out and decided not to follow the i30N anymore, and just went into attack mode. So this session I belatedly learnt the limitations of my tyres and my brakes when my brakes cooked and faded at the end of the straight while I was trying to pull a double pass. To make matters worse, I forgot to leave the parking brake disengaged when I returned to the garage and despite me moving the car around during the interval, I think this is what caused my rotors to warp, as the car’s developed an unsettling vibration upon high speed braking since :joy: For my efforts I managed to get the time down to a 1:02.19. Upon discussing tyre performance with my garage neighbour, a local track veteran running a stripped K11 Micra, he reminded me that maybe my tyres had overinflated now that they were running hot so we checked and sure enough, 45psi on the front and 40 on the rear ooooooof.

Session 3, with my hot tyre temps set to 36 front and 35 rear, I focused on learning the heat behaviour of the tyres and brakes and trying to balance my driving style to get both into the optimal temp window, then find out just how long I could go maximum attack for, which turned out to be about 5 laps to get up to heat, then 4 or 5 laps on attack before I had to seriously back off. If I kept the attack a bit shorter then I could cool down for 2 laps and attack again and that was more sustainable. I also found just how much sketchier things were with lower pressures when the tyres were cool: the response was squidgy and prone to sidewall rolling and that meant quite a bit of instability on kinks and sudden direction changes. But in the pocket, I got the time down to a 1:01.19 so exactly 1 second improvement, which is, on a track like this, significant.

At the end of session 3, my friend with the i30N suffered a delamination:

These tyres were almost new Bridgestone sports too. We think that the cause was that with those Advans and the tyre spec that the tyre was perhaps a little too stretched, and in the hard corners was really riding on the sidewall, because there was a hell of a lot of sidewall graining. By comparison, my tyre wear:

No such issue beacuse it’s a square fit with a stiff sidewall. So I gave my car a bit of a rest and skipped a session while helping her swap the road wheels back on and that was her day done.

Then I went back for a final session and tried to put it all together: warm up the tyres and brakes, observe the traffic, attack at the right time for a hot lap, then during cooldowns reflect on the results and tweak/rehearse approach to various lines so that I was using as much of the track as possible. It helped that on this particular session one of the race-prepped Golf Rs from the faster group joined the session which got me competitive:

Once I was past thanks to a little 3-car moment involving a plucky Polo GTi with suspicious amounts of power, I was able to get in my best lap of the day:

As you can see I don’t bother downshifting to 2nd. I reckon I might get a little bit more acceleration as sometimes I dip below spool but it’d be really difficult to manage throttle and steering plus then I’d have to shift back into 3rd and that’d waste a few tenths anyway. On reflection I think the only place it makes sense is at turn 8, the awkward left hander before the final hairpin so next time I go I’ll try that.

The feedback I got from competitive race drivers was that my hotlap technique is actually good, which I’m chalking up to thousands of hours of sim racing and the occasionally cheeky streeto. I reckon if I set the front tyres to 35psi, and took better care of my tyres and brakes earlier in the day, I might have a crack at getting close to a minute dead which would be stupendously quick for this spec (for reference, a 2022 Cayman GTS 2.5L turbo with an extra 40hp and way more tyre than my car did a 59.4s). The wheels and tyres are definitely making a big difference. The brakes, well, I have to say that was the real learning experience: even with what’s regarded as the go-to street/track setup and on a relatively low speed track like this I could overheat the brakes, that must mean when I put my mind to it I can be pretty hard on the parts. Am seriously considering upgrading to higher spec when I have reason to.

The other things that I’m really thinking about is whether I really want to use a PRL P700 turbo when I power upgrade, which will generate a LOT more top end power but the spool will probably shift a few hundred rpm upwards which is not desirable for this track. If anything maybe I want something that spools earlier even if it means less top end power. Maybe I should go for the Spoon bolt-on turbo instead. This will be something to discuss with my tuner. Also, I was told I mightn’t need an oil cooler unless I was planning to track “hard” and while the temps and the pressures remained “adequate” on this particular track day, I have to say it was a maximum of 12C which is one of the colder days you can get around here. I do worry that the way I drive it’s not going to be great if I track in hotter weather. So an oil cooler will need to go on the shopping list.

In the meantime, post-track day I can drive the Civic normally if I don’t mind an unnerving vibrating brake pedal when stopping from highway speeds, but I can’t drive it hard until I get my rotors machined so I guess I gotta pick a shop to do that! Oh, and I should probably bleed my fluid so I should order a new batch too.

Finally here’s a little blooper reel full of cold tyres, fading/locked brakes, and the obligatory missed shift:


I can confirm from experience (which is pretty much universally agreed upon if you look at all the reviews) that Bridgestone Potenza Sport is one of the best road tyre available but absolutely useless as a track tyre. They cannot withstand track heat at all. AD08R in comparison would last more than twice as long within exactly the same condition and is actually a decent track tyre. (As evidence by it being used in quite a few entry level race series).

Track day is addicting but damn it’s easy to end up having to eat grass because tyres and brakes cost A LOT.

yep right now I got all my car buds giving me about a hundred options on how to diagnose my brake issues, and I’m already thinking “well once these parts are done should I upgrade again???” For example I’m thinking maybe I should shift up to A052 instead of AD08R, or something similar. But I’d need to figure out what I’m actually going to do with the power mods to work out how much tyre I’m going to need…