After months of rumors, Acura unveiled a racing version of its NSX hybrid supercar at the 2016 New York Auto Show last week. The Acura NSX GT3 looks ready to attack, but it still needs to undergo testing and won’t hit the track until 2017.
The GT3 uses the same 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 as the stock NSX, but the road car’s complex all-wheel drive system was ditched in favor of a simpler, rear-wheel drive setup. The V6 is now connected to a six-speed sequential gearbox, rather than the nine-speed dual-clutch transmission in the stock version. Acura didn’t say specifically, but it’s likely the NSX GT3 isn’t a hybrid.
The “GT3” in “NSX GT3” refers to the FIA GT3 class for modified production cars. It’s become quite popular in the last couple of years because of its relatively low cost, and because it’s a good marketing opportunity for manufacturers. GT3 cars race in Europe as well as in the Pirelli World Challenge here in the U.S. Acura currently runs a pair of TLX sedans in the latter series, but the NSX could replace them.
Related: 2017 Acura NSX first drive
Like all race-car conversions, the NSX GT3 also has altered bodywork that includes aerodynamic aids like a huge rear spoiler. And while the production NSX cabin is supposed to emphasize comfort and ergonomics, the GT3 cabin is stripped bare. The body and engine will be made on the same Ohio assembly lines as the stock NSX, with bodies coming from Marysville, and engines from Anna.
The NSX GT3 will tangle with a variety of cars in competition, including racing versions of the Cadillac ATS-V, McLaren 650S, and Bentley Continental GT. It may also have some relevance to future road cars: Acura is rumored to be planning a hardcore NSX Type R that could adopt the GT3’s rear-wheel drive layout.
The Type R hasn’t been confirmed, but the GT3 is expected to debut next year. It will spend most of 2016 testing, and Acura expects it to get approved for competition by the fall.