The highly anticipated launch of the Acura NSX GT3 took a step forward this weekend when the twin-turbocharged NSX GT3. Due to start competition in North America in 2017 saw a public testing debut at the Mid Ohio Sportscar Course this weekend. The Acura NSX will be manufactured exclusively in Ohio.
The NSX GT3 is powered by a 3.5 liter twin turbocharged V-6, and will be homologated later this year by the FIA in preparation for 2017 GT3 campaigns. Honda initially developed the car in Japan before development was handed over to Honda Performance Development (HPD) in the USA for additional development, testing and homologation within the GT3 specifications.
Honda/Acura have still to confirm firstly which series the cars will run within, though have confirmed a North American programme will exist in 2017. Therefore the options remain as the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar championship and Pirelli World Challenge.
Acura have yet to additionally confirm which teams will be leading the campaign for the NSX GT3. Currently Acura has a relationship with RealTime Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge, fielding a pair of Acura TLX’s in the GT class for team owner Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley.
The Wisconsin based team is involved in the testing and development of the new NSX GT3, with Peter Cunningham due to test the cars in the coming weeks however it is still unconfirmed if the team will in fact be chosen by Acura to run the NSX GT3 in competition next year.
The IMSA angle is made slightly more complex by questions over the direction of the Prototype ‘P’ class and Honda’s commitment to those regulations.
The aim for the Prototype class is to have four chassis manufacturers, whilst allowing manufacturers styling cues to then be placed on the base chassis whilst engine manufacturer choice remains open. Honda (HPD) have yet to make a decision on the companies direction in IMSA under the new DPI rules. Pure speculation could be that Honda either commits to a DPi programme, finds a way to grandfather in the current ARX 04 or moves focus to a GT class Acura NSX in the series.
Acura has a long history of Sportscar racing in the USA, having won the 1991-1993 IMSA Camel Lights manufacturer championships. In more recent years the manufacturer has competed with the ARX programme in LMP1 & LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series and later within IMSA under the Honda and Acura banners claiming the ALMS championship in 2009.