Acura engineers love speed so much that they set up a Pikes Peak race team

Acura is heading to the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with guns blazing. Honda’s luxury brand will field four cars driven and crewed by its own engineers. Professional race team RealTime Racing will also return to the legendary race, bringing the Acura count up to five. The goal is to collect as many trophies as possible.

Acura has become a regular at Pikes Peak, fielding entires over the past eight years. Taking competitors up to the 14,115-foot summit of Colorado’s Pikes Peak, the hill climb is one of the most challenging races in the world. A mistake on one of the dozens of corners could send a car flying off a cliff, while weather conditions can vary dramatically on the run to the top. Both drivers and cars also suffer the effects of oxygen deprivation due to the high altitude.

Four of the 2019 entries are based on production models, but that doesn’t mean they are all 100% stock. The 2019 MDX Sport Hybrid racer ditched the stock 3.0-liter V6 engine for a 3.5-liter V6 from the non-hybrid MDX, which in turn was bored out to 3.7 liters. Total system output now stands at 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, compared for 321 hp and 289 lb-ft for the stock MDX Sport Hybrid. Most of the interior, including all seats except the driver’s was stripped out to save weight, and a roll cage was added for safety reasons.

The MDX’s little sibling, the RDX, will race at Pikes Peak as well. Acura started with a 2019 A-Spec model, retaining the stock 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which can shunt power around in all kinds of clever ways. But the racing version sports a larger turbo, as well as a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that feeds power to an electric supercharger. The result is 350 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, up from the stock 272 hp and 280 lb-ft. As with the MDX, Acura gutted the interior and added a roll cage to the RDX. The smaller SUV also sports 19-inch HRE wheels with Pirelli tires, as well as upgraded brakes.

Acura will also bring two versions of its NSX hybrid supercar to Pikes Peak. One is stock with the exception of safety-related modifications required by the rules. The other is a modified “time attack” car that Acura claims is 200 pounds lighter than a stock NSX, but with output increased by 52 hp, for a total of 625 hp. The modified NSX also sports a massive rear wing and front splitter, designed to generate more downforce and help it stick to the road. The time attack and production-spec NSXs will be driven by brothers James Robinson and Nick Robinson, respectively. Both are Acura engineers and Pikes Peak veterans. Each set a class record in 2018. An NSX will also serve as the pace car for the 2019 race.

Acura engineers will drive and crew the MDX, RDX, and the two NSXs, but the fifth entry will be run by RealTime Racing, with veteran driver Peter Cunningham at the wheel. The TLX GT is a full-on race car loosely based on the Acura TLX sedan. It was originally designed for road racing, where it regularly went wheel to wheel with more exotic Ferraris and Porsches. Cunningham took the car to a class win at Pikes Peak in 2018.

Pikes Peak divides cars and motorcycles into numerous classes, giving it more variety than most other major racing events. Acura will compete in three classes in 2019. The NSX duo will run in Time Attack 1, the MDX and RDX will run in the Exhibition Class, and the TLX GT will run in the Open Class. That means Acura could collect three class records this year, although it likely won’t be able to match the overall record of 7 minutes, 57 seconds, set by the Volkswagen ID R electric car in 2018.

Product Review

BMW gives the M4 CS additional performance cred, but it comes with lots of tradeoffs

Splitting the difference between the standard M4 and the hardcore track setup of the limited-production M4 GTS, the CS brings with it a sharper look to match its sharper performance, but there are some caveats involved.
Cars

Prepare to procrastinate: The 2020 Toyota Supra online configurator is now live

The Toyota Supra is back, and even if you can't afford one, you can still design your ideal version of the reborn sports car in Toyota's online configurator. It's a great way to procrastinate.
Cars

2020 Honda Insight hybrid returns for its sophomore year largely unchanged

The 2020 Honda Insight returns rolls into the new model year without any major changes. That's to be expected, as Honda only introduced the 52-mpg hybrid sedan for the 2019 model year.
Cars

Acura shows the tech differences between a sports car and a race car

The Acura NSX races in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but how similar is the race car to its road-going counterpart. Acura recruited race driver Trent Hindman to break it down.
Cars

How selectable driving modes are able to turn your car from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde

If you don’t have unlimited cash to spend on buying a whole stable of cars to fit every need and occasion, you’re going to need your current car to fill multiple roles.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Drone lens, laser synth, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

10 crazy technologies and innovations banned from Formula One

Formula One prides itself on being at the pinnacle of racing technology, but that means teams sometimes push things over the edge. Here are 10 examples of tech that was banned from Formula One.
Cars

You can unlock Lincoln’s massive 2020 Navigator with your phone

The 2020 Lincoln Navigator adds a phone-as-key feature that lets the driver use a smartphone in place of a traditional key fob. Other changes for 2020 include more standard convenience features, and some new trim packages.
Cars

Best automotive deals for Amazon Prime Day

Christmas in July has arrived again with Prime Day 2019, and we're here to be your Santa Claus for all things car tech. We scoured through all the best deals for this non-bank holiday to find you the very best swag to keep your ride on the…
Cars

The best Amazon Prime Day deals on dashboard cameras for your car

The dash cam market grows annually, so these devices are rarely on sale. Prime Day 2019 is a stellar opportunity to modernize your car, keep yourself safe behind the wheel, and possibly capture something hilarious on film.
Cars

Waze now tells you the cost of toll roads along your route

Navigation app Waze now tells you how much you'll be paying for toll roads, should you decide to take them. Enter your route and the app will display the various tolls you'll be paying on that particular trip.
Cars

How VTEC works: Why Hondas have that sudden burst of speed

Honda enthusiasts point to it as one of the brand's advantages. However, to others, VTEC technology can be a point of derision. So what exactly is VTEC? Here's a quick explainer to get you up to speed (pardon the pun).
Deals

Amazon hacks up to 44% off of Garmin GPS navigators for Prime Day

To help with your daily drive, Amazon drops the price of a couple of Garmin GPS Navigation devices by up to 44% this Prime Day.
Cars

Tesla drops cheapest Model S and Model X versions in latest lineup reshuffle

Tesla dropped entry-level Standard Range versions of the Model S and Model X in yet another model shake-up. That leaves just the Long Range and Performance versions of the luxury electric cars.