On the same stage as the new hybrid MDX crossover, Acura wanted to remind us that it also cares about hair-raising supercars. At this year’s New York auto show, Acura pulled the cover off of the NSX GT3 car, which is poised to go racing in North America beginning in 2017.
“The Acura NSX was always going to be a racecar,” Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr told AUTOMOBILE on the show floor. “The track was in mind every step of the way.”
What’s unclear, however, is exactly how Acura planned to race the NSX. St. Cyr tells us Acura shopped around the NSX to various racing series to try to enter the supercar as a hybrid, but was shut down at every turn. “We couldn’t get any sanctioning body accept the production car’s hybrid technology in a race series, but this car is still a fulfillment of our earlier commitment to take the NSX to the track,” he said.
Acura NSX GT3 Race Car front side view
Instead, the Acura NSX GT3 ended up as a rear-wheel-drive racer without the street car’s complex and advanced SH-AWD system and its chorus of electric motors. Powering the track-bred NSX GT3 is the same 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox. It maintains the same block, heads, valvetrain, crankshaft, pistons and dry sump lubrication system, according to Acura’s official release. The main changes include modifications to the exhaust and on-board electronics systems, to keep the NSX GT3 competitive and in line with series specifications. The stock NSX engine makes 500 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.
Plenty else migrates over from the standard 2017 Acura NSX, though. The GT3 car will use the same aluminum-intensive spaceframe, which will continue to be manufactured at the Ohio-based Performance Manufacturing Center. On top of that, you’ll see an intoxicating smattering of aerodynamic and cooling upgrades. These include a fixed rear spoiler and rear diffuser, bigger vents up front, and carbon fiber winglets. The car rides on racing slicks, sitting on OZ Racing lightweight wheels concealing stout Brembo brakes.
Acura NSX GT3 Race Car with NSX production car
For now, Acura is not announcing any plans to race the NSX GT3 outside of North America. When asked if there is any chance in the future that Acura would offer the NSX GT3 for consumer sale as a track-only special, St. Cyr did not totally dismiss the possibility, but said that nothing else is being announced at this time.
We asked if any of the lessons learned during the race series would inform development of the NSX throughout its lifecycle, and received a resoundingly positive response. “Of course,” said St. Cyr. “That’s something we do with all of our cars, but obviously it’s significant for the NSX.”
The Acura NSX GT3 is particularly titillating given the earlier rumors of a rear-wheel-drive, non-hybrid NSX Type R. If one were to come to production, it would ultimately be more of a limited-edition offering. And although it might be slower off the line without all-wheel drive, it would also be considerably lighter and a lot more playful thanthe current model. It’s also the one we’d drift over and over in our daydreams.
Acura NSX GT3 Race Car inside