It’s not easy to stand out at the annual SEMA Show, the aftermarket trade show held every year in Las Vegas where companies use a sea of tricked-out cars to promote their latest products. But this year, Acura has a secret weapon.
Honda’s luxury brand will bring its new NSX GT3 race car to SEMA. This racing version of Acura’s hybrid supercar will ride in style on a custom trailer pulled by a 2017 MDX SUV. The SEMA show floor is usually littered with modified vehicles that look like race cars, so why not actually bring one?
Acura will use SEMA to announce its driver lineups for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the two main venues for sports-car racing in North America. In the Pirelli series, Acura will continue to partner with Real Time Racing, which currently runs a pair of Acura TLX sedans in the series. Acura’s IMSA team is Michael Shank Racing.
The NSX GT3 is a heavily-modified version of the NSX road car, with custom bodywork to improve aerodynamics and cooling. It uses the same 3.5-liter V6 as the stock NSX, but with a six-speed sequential transmission and rear-wheel drive, in place of the stock nine-speed dual-clutch transmission and hybrid all-wheel drive system.
Acura also customized a 2017 MDX for SEMA. The SUV wears the same racing livery as the NSX GT3 (an admittedly staid white with silver graphics), and rides on lowered suspension with 20-inch wheels. To match the race car more closely, Acura also added a front splitter wrapped in carbon fiber. Unveiled at the 2016 New York Auto Show earlier this year, the updated MDX is the first model to wear Acura’s new design language, based on the Precision concept car.
Also debuting at SEMA is a new GT package for the TLX. It includes some sportier styling elements, like front and rear spoilers, side sill “garnishes” and special 19-inch wheels, but no performance modifications. Nonetheless, Acura claims it was inspired by the TLX GT race cars that will be replaced by the NSX GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge.