Automobiles Technology

Civic Type R - Engineer Talk 04

"The ability to adapt to any scene symbolizes the depth of the new Type R"

Steering Engineer Norimasa Arai

Steering Engineer
Norimasa Arai

The new Type R’s handling is fun on the race track, as was its predecessor, but is also comfortable and easy to handle on public roads as well.

First, the ultimate direct feel was needed to pursue driving pleasure. To that end, we aimed to effectively balance rigidity of the steering components.

We then focused on the steering wheel’s grip shape, allowing a firm grip even with the driver’s little fingers, to improve controllability. We built our own grip models with the help of the design department.

“Direct steering is a must for sports cars. We pursued the ‘ultimate direct steering’ for the new Type R,” commented Norimasa Arai, in charge of the new Type R’s steering development.

“I was involved in developing the steering wheel, the steering column, steering gearbox, and the components in between connecting the tie rod and tires,” Arai explained.

“For the steering to feel direct to the driver, each component’s rigidity needs to be balanced right. If any of the components are not rigid enough, an inflection point occurs during steering, destroying the direct feel. We began development by reviewing the fundamentals.”

Arai did not consider direct steering feel to be the only priority.

“For the new Type R, we aimed to develop handling that was more enjoyable than the previous model for sports driving on a track, yet comfortable and easy to handle on public roads. These two or three facets for different driving scenes is what partly defines the new Type R’s depth.”

The three drive modes, [COMFORT] [SPORT] and [+R] play a large role in the new Type R’s many facets.

“The previous Type R had a standard and [+R] mode, but the new model has a third [COMFORT] mode, enhancing grand tourer performance. [COMFORT] mode especially should make the Type R feel drastically different.”

Steering / tire components

Steering / tire components

In addition, thought has gone into pleasing drivers on the race track.

“Drivers usually wear gloves when driving on a race track. With gloves, gripping the steering wheel is much easier, so sometimes it seems that there is less feedback at the same amount of force or effort on the steering wheel. To solve this problem, the new Type R minutely adjusts the amount of power steer assistance, to provide both direct feedback and invigorating handling.”

“Another aspect we put effort into was the shape of the steering wheel’s grip. In golf or tennis, the grip is designed so that the little finger and the ring finger can firmly control the club or racket. We designed the steering wheel grip especially for the new Type R so that the driver’s little fingers and ring fingers have a firm grip when placing hands at 3 and 9 o’clock. We built full scale models ourselves, with the help of the design department.”

Steering wheel

Steering wheel

Civic Type R - Enginner Talk