The 2023 Honda Civic Type R GT3-Style Wing Is All Business

It’s tall, it’s aggressive, but the Civic Type R’s wing serves a purpose.

byChris RosalesJul 21, 2022 10:12 AM
The 2023 Honda Civic Type R GT3-Style Wing Is All Business
Chris Rosales
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Honda finally revealed the 2023 Civic Type R on Wednesday, showing us what the next generation of its high-power hatch looks like. Folks, it's a looker. Though technical details have been reserved until the car's full launch in the fall, Honda let us poke around the new car and ask some questions about the design and aerodynamics. Obviously, we looked straight into that imposing-looking GT-style rear wing.

It’s a radical departure from the 10th-generation Civic Type R. Where that used a rally-style wing, this 11th-generation Type R uses a more conventional wing construction. Using two aluminum die-cast wing uprights, the wing bolts to the uprights, allowing for spacers or adjustability in the aftermarket. It’s quite tall and is profiled in a deliberate way to generate downforce. No useless garnish here.

According to Honda spokesperson Carl Pulley, the wing is less aggressive than before, at least aerodynamically.

“The wing did not need to be as aggressive to still provide downforce… it doesn't just neutralize lift at speed, it does actually provide downforce to help those tires stick on the ground at race-track speeds,” he said. This is a result of an aerodynamic diet for the new Type R. The shape and details have been cleaned up immensely. Where the 10th-generation CTR bristles with edges and vents, the new Type R is much cleaner. 

The new Honda Civic Type R may also be a more authentic performance car than its predecessor. The details and attitude of the 2023 Civic Type R are substantially more focused than before. There's a strong resemblance to the original EK9 Civic Type R in the new car, and it looks purpose-built and ready to hit a track. The wing isn't too large or too small and it visually balances the hatchback shape of the CTR while adding performance and decent looks. (It will also make a great lunch table.)

The details around the fenders are perhaps more striking. Instead of the obvious stick-on flare vibe of the 10th-generation car, the new car pumps out the fenders to create visual volume. Instead of the Gundam fantasy of the current CTR, this new car feels like it's reading lines from the old-school BMW M car playbook—it's subtly aggressive, quietly confident, but clearly inspired by racing.

Keeping cool was difficult for the current Type R, so Honda added a functional hood vent above the radiator for heat extraction, and a new, larger grille opening allows the radiator and intercooler to ingest the air necessary to keep cool on a hot track day. Function created forms for the new Civic Type R, and I think you know where we're going here.

The exterior of the new Type R is more aerodynamically efficient and creates a lower coefficient of drag, according to Honda. The rear wing and aero work helped to set a new record at Honda's own Suzuka Circuit, taking just over eight-tenths of a second off of the outgoing CTR. The new Type R looks great at speed or standing still, and the car's presence is seriously knuckle-biting. Clearly, a lot of time and effort was spent on the extreme subtleties of volume and shape.

Whether the aerodynamic improvements and that rear wing translate into a better driving car is yet to be seen; it is certainly faster around a race track. I can't wait for more details.