While an almost-production NSX was winning the Time Attack 2 class at Pikes Peak just a few weeks ago, Acura was putting the finishing touches on their NSX GT3 racing car. The car is slated to compete in North America next year as a replacement for the TLX GT racer. The TLX has struggled for a while to compete with the full-boat FIA GT3 cars in its class, though they’ve found some success lately with driver Ryan Everseley taking a double victory weekend at Road Atlanta just last week. The NSX aims to pick up where that car leaves off at the end of the season, hopefully on a high note.
The new car, shown here as naked as the day it was born, is loosely based on the new NSX sports car. The GT3 category doesn’t allow the use of electric motors, so those have been ditched, and the car sits lower and wider than the production car does. More pronounced aero, centerlock wheels, and lightweight panels, the usual sports car racing accouterments, have been added to the NSX’s already beautiful silhouette. The engine is based on the same Z-series 3.5 liter V6 Turbo found in the street car NSX, which is likely a development of the 3.5 liter V6 Turbo found in the current TLX GT race car, which is itself a development of the engine currently found in HPD’s LMP2 prototypes running at the front in IMSA prototype competition. The engine is mated to a 6-speed sequential gearbox shoving power to the rear wheels.
Art St. Cyr, President of HPD –
“Building on the very solid foundation of the production NSX, we’re making steady progress in our development and looking forward to campaigning the GT3 racecar next year.”
The NSX GT3 is produced in the same “Performance Manufacturing Center” Ohio facility as the street NSX. The engine is also assembled in Ohio from parts sourced internationally. The NSX GT3 has been in development for quite a while now, and much of the initial testing was done by the Japanese motorsport engineering arm of Honda/Acura on European and Japanese circuits. Further development this year, as well as final homologation duties have been handed off to Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, California.
When it joins the GT3 ranks later this year, the car will compete against entrants from Audi, Bentley, McLaren, Porsche, Dodge, Cadillac, Nissan, Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes, Lamborghini, and Aston Martin. The grids are burgeoning with talented drivers, and there is never a lack of action at the front of the field. Once homologated into the GT3 field, the car will be eligible to run in a number of worldwide series, including Blancpain, IMSA’s GTD category, 24H Series, ADAC GT Masters, Asian Le Mans Series, Australian GT, GT Open, VLN Endurance Series, Japanese Super GT, and others. Companies like Porsche and Audi have traditionally made GT3 cars for customer teams to compete with, though there are companies like Cadillac who have not made their GT3 cars available to anyone other than the factory-backed team. It is not yet clear which type of GT3 manufacturer Acura will be. With as sexy as this beast is, I sure hope they build a bunch of them and sell them all over the world. The more of these I see at race tracks, the better.
The photos here were taken during a test session at my home track of GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. Acura says they are running development tests at tracks all around the US, and are planning for FIA GT3 homologation later this fall in preparation for a full assault on 2017.
[Photos provided by Acura]