Acura clearly believes in the old adage “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” The 2017 NSX just won the Time Attack 2 class at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and now Acura is preparing the hybrid supercar for its next racing endeavor.
Honda’s luxury division brought out the NSX GT3 race car for a photo shoot and testing session at Michigan’s GingerMan raceway. Acura first showed the car at the 2016 New York Auto Show, but it’s still doing development work ahead of the NSX GT3’s racing debut next year.
With its exposed carbon fiber bodywork, the NSX GT3 looks even meaner than it did on a pedestal in the Big Apple. The race car features heavily modified bodywork, including enlarged hood vents for better engine cooling, plus aerodynamic aids like an underbody diffuser, and a massive rear wing spoiler. Unlike certain other race cars ostensibly based on road cars, though, the finished product is still recognizable as an NSX.
The powertrain includes a tuned version of the 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 used in the stock NSX. However, the stock nine-speed dual-clutch automated transmission was ditched in favor of a six-speed sequential gearbox. The GT3 is also rear-wheel drive, not all-wheel drive like the NSX road car. That means Acura may have tossed the road car’s hybrid system as well, although the carmaker won’t confirm that. Despite its somewhat different mechanical layout, the GT3 is built alongside the stock NSX in Ohio.
The use of stock bodywork and a (mostly) stock powertrain are some of the requirements of the FIA GT3 class that Acura built the NSX racer for. GT3 mandates that cars retain close ties to their road-going counterparts, meaning the cars fans watch on the track actually resemble ones they see on the street. The class has grown to include everything from Lamborghini Huracáns to Bentley Continental GTs, racing in multiple series in the U.S. and Europe.
Acura hopes to have the NSX GT3 certified this fall. Its racing debut will be sometime next year. Acura hasn’t said which series the car will race in, but it could replace the TLX GT sedans currently running in the Pirelli World Challenge.