One of Japan’s legendary tuning houses has already got its hands on Honda’s latest hot hatch. Here’s the Spoon Sports modified Honda Civic Type R FL5.
We’re quickly approaching a decade since the Civic Type R went down the forced induction route. To this day it still seems bonkers that Honda dropped its naturally aspirated history and embraced turbos. We can still hear the fanboys weeping from here! But the truth is, since the FK2 Civic Type R came out in 2015, Honda has never looked back. And if you’ve driven one yourself, including the FK8 that came after it, you’d know that the Type R moniker has truly evolved and progressed into a territory that rev-happy NAs just wouldn’t have been able to ever reach.
Fast forward to 2022 and Honda upped the ante once again, bringing the FL5 to the world. We’ve all taken notice and so too did Ichishima-san at Spoon Sports, the daddy of Honda tuning, a true purist at heart but at the same time a true visionary that has always been one to follow the times and embrace evolution in technology.
Step One Of The Spoon Sports FL5 Civic Type R build
The guys at Spoon’s technical workshop – Type One – picked up their FL5 Civic Type R and got straight to work on it. Spoon has always acted as a type of skunkworks outfit when it approached building Hondas, putting great emphasis on fine tuning and perfecting rather than going overboard and upsetting that fine balance Honda engineers put into each of the cars.
Ichishima-san – who is a true racer at heart – wanted to approach the the FL5 in a series of steps, the first (this one) limited to extracting the true potential of the car. It’s basically that first round of mods that most owners would do to a car, and possibly the most popular type of package Spoon will offer. Let’s break it down.
Starting with the handling side of things, Spoon wanted to prep the car for the copious track action it would be seeing during its R&D. Following the current trend in Japan of doing away with developing their own suspension and ending up with something sub-par, Ichishima-san’s crew called in KW for some assistance. KW’s popularity in the land of the rising sun has exponentially grown over the years as shops have had the chance to try them out and work directly with them, realizing that they are generations ahead of what the local suspension industry is able to deliver.
With KW’s experience in motorsport, they were able to develop a 2-way coilover kit for Spoon that would be the perfect trade-off between street use and the occasional track day outing. With the damper’s ability to deal with road imperfections smoothly, Spoon were then able to set the car up with a more aggressive geometry; something you can see by the amount of negative camber they are running up front, which the KW top mounts instantly give away.
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
Then came the wheels and tires. The FL5 comes equipped with 19-inch wheels from factory wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber, but this was just not going to do it. First up they downsized the diameter by 1-inch, settling on a set of 18-inch Spoon Sports 5-spoke wheels which allows them to run a slightly taller sidewall on the replacement Potenza RE71RS (265/35R19) tires. This allows them to work with a little more sidewall height and thus flexibility, working in more dampening and compliance into how the car behaves. If you look at the pictures you’ll see the tires have already been put through their paces, thanks to Keiichi Tsuchiya who recently drove it at Tsukuba.
Spoon deemed the car’s stock braking capabilities sufficient when it came to outright power, however they have put some work into the resistance to fade, pedal feel, and initial bite. This meant relegating the stock rotors to the bin and installing Spoon’s straight slotted discs that mount onto the factory floating bells. A set of Spoon Sports brake pads then joined the party, as did some braided lines and more brake fluid with a higher boiling point.
With the handling in check it was the engine that followed. Seeing that this is still a first round of modifications, the motor itself remains stock. It has however been joined by Spoon’s cat-back exhaust system which exits out the center portion of the bumper with a pair of round silencers. This helps give the engine a little breathing space and actually brings about a perceivable bump in response and mid-range torque.
Soon Spoon will emphasize this with a remap of the ECU, but that will be part of a broader package that will also include additional upgrades. Spoon’s own panel filter replaces the stock item to allow the engine to breathe a little easier, and as the car spends much of its time on track, an upgraded radiator is also in the works.
Exterior & Interior Design
Aesthetically, Spoon Sports has given the Honda Civic Type R FL5 a series of finishing touches that really help tighten up the looks. That starts at the front with the lip spoiler which at the time of the shoot was still in FRP but will only be available in carbon fiber. Spoon has painted it in black to contrast the white body, much like the mirrors, which are a totally new design. Those are soon to be released, and are possibly one of the best visual additions you can make to an FL5, which comes from factory with massive wing mirrors that look like they belong on a van, not a 4-door sports car!
At the rear, we find the final exterior addition: the carbon fiber Spoon wing, mounted on “gooseneck” wing stays, as the Spoon guys like to call them. That’s because the Spoon logo is a goose, not a swan!
Open the driver’s side door and you’ll find a very minimalist interior, something that Honda really nailed on the FL5. To complement rather than disrupt, Spoon have fitted their seats – a bucket for the driver and a reclinable item for the passenger side – along with some harnesses for track work. The best touch though has to be the Spoon steering wheel which comes with a kit to relocate all the stock buttons that were mounted to the factory wheel, so you don’t loose any functionality. A short Spoon shifter completes the additions.
Performance on Track
As it stands, the Spoon Sports Honda Civic Type R FL5 has lapped Tsukuba (at the hands of Keiichi Tsuchiya) in 1 minute 2 seconds, which is an impressive baseline time to work from. Once Spoon installs the Hondata ECU and can consequently up the power to around the 400 HP mark (up from the stock 325 hp) they see no reason why it shouldn’t be a sub-minute car at Tsukuba, something that is a very big deal in Japan. We’ll just have to check back with them in the coming months to see how that all pans out…
Now the question is, are you all still missing the old NA days? I’m not!
Words and Photos by Dino Dalle Carbonare.
Spoon Sports Honda Civic Type R FL5 Images
Tech Specs: Spoon Sports Honda Civic Type R FL5
Engine: cat-back exhaust
Suspension & Brakes: KW 2-way adjustable coilovers, Spoon straight-slotted discs front & back, Spoon Sports brake pads, Spoon Sports mesh brake lines, Spoon Sports brake fluid
Wheels & Tires: Spoon Sports 5-spoke wheels 18x8J, Bridgestone Potenza RE-71 225/35/R18
Exterior: Spoon Sports lip spoiler, Spoon Sports “goose-neck” carbon fiber hatch spoiler, Spoon Sports door mirrors
Interior: Spoon Sports steering wheel, Spoon Sports shift knob, Spoon Sports drivers-side bucket seat, Spoon Sports reclinable passenger-side seat, Spoon Sports racing harnesses