Acura hopes to homologate the NSX into the GT3 race class by fall of this year

The Acura NSX went on sale just a month ago, on February 25th, 2016, with the launch of its online configurator. With that being the case, it’s pretty easy to assume that we’ve heard the last news about the NSX for a while, but then Acura decides to throw us a curve ball. It showed up at the New York Auto Show with a GT3 variant of the new Acura NSX. Along with the debut of this new model comes Acura’s intent to homologate the model as an FIA GT3 class race car this fall.

As you probably know, this isn’t Acura’s first rodeo, as it has ran campaigns in the 1991 through1993 IMSA Camel Lights championships, the 2009 American LeMans championships – in LMP1 and LMP2 classes – and is currently running a couple of TLX GT cars with Real Time Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge. Should the NSX GT3 pass its current testing with flying colors, it will partake in GT3 racing later this year.

The NSX GT3 was initially developed by Acura’s Japanese race engineering team and has already tested on various circuits in Europe and Japan. The car is now undergoing testing in Santa Clarita, California, under Honda Performance Development – Acura’s North American race engineering group. Art St. Cyr, the president of HPD, said, “The NSX was designed as a pinnacle expression of Acura Precision Crafted Performance, and we’re looking forward to proving out its ultimate performance capabilities in GT3 racing.” He continued, “We’ll be working with the NSX engineering teams in Ohio and Japan to bring our dream of a truly world-class new Acura NSX race car to fruition.”

Given the overall acceptance and fan base of the new Acura NSX, it’s no surprise Acura is so quick to jump on the GT3 wagon. While the NSX GT3 shares a lot of commonalities with the road-going NSX, it also features its own unique differences that make it ready to take on the GT3 class. With that said, let’s take a look at the new NSX GT3 and what it will bring to the race track later this year.

Update 07-30-2016: We’ve created a new video to cover the highlights of the new Acura NSX GT3. Let us know what you think about it in the comments section below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Acura NSX GT3 Race Car.

Exterior

2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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As I mentioned before, there are a lot of similarities between the Acura NSX and the NSX GT3. For starters, it has the same overall design, and the fascias are even quite similar. Up front, you’ll notice the GT3 has a new hood that sports a much larger vent to assist with engine cooling. The headlights are the same as on the production model, and you’ll notice the same “precision crafted” front grille. The fascia still has those muscular and sharp arms that surround the inner corner and sides of the vents. What is new here is the air dam, which has been made taller. Below it sits a rather large front spoiler that extends several inches away from the fascia – this gives the NSX a true track-ready appearance, provides ample downforce on the front axle, and gives more overall depth to the fascia’s design.

Up front, you’ll notice the GT3 has a new hood that sports a much larger vent to assist with engine cooling

To the sides, you’ll see that the NSX GT3 has actually been toned down in comparison to its road-going brother. The mirrors have been moved from the corner of the front window, with the arm connecting to the door. As a result, the mirror arm sits almost vertical, and the mirror housing itself is significantly smaller. Further down the body, that aggressive body line that leads to the rear intake has been toned down to the point that it’s almost nonexistent on the GT3. The side skirts are also smooth – probably to assist in air distribution – and is actually rather boring compared to the production NSX. In comparison, those side skirts smoothly transition into the rear wheel arches and the rear quarter panels. It’s a fitting look for a race car, but it’s a good thing the road-going NSX didn’t take on this bland design cue.

Looking at the images we have of the NSX GT3, we can’t exactly get a good look at the rear end, but we can make out a few things. The rear fascia looks to be about the same as the production model, but those corner vents look to be smaller on the GT3. At first, I thought this could just be an optical illusion produced by the angle of the picture, but under closer inspection, you can see the vents come to a sharp point at the bottom. On the production version, the vents have a flat bottom, so there is a clear difference here. There is a dramatic and functional rear diffuser, but we can’t get a good view of it at this point. The other dramatic change is that large spoiler attached to the decklid, which clearly provides plenty of downforce on the rear axle.

All told, the NSX GT3 has the same “ultra-rigid” and lightweight body wrapped around an aluminum-intensive space frame

All told, the NSX GT3 has the same “ultra-rigid” and lightweight body wrapped around an aluminum-intensive space frame. The main color is white, but there is some black accenting around the grille, on the fascia’s flics, the hood vent, and around the rear air intakes. An orange stripe runs the full width of the front spoiler, the center hub of each wheel, and the “GT” lettering on the doors. There is a large Acura emblem painted on the nose, and the gray coloration on the fenders and doors almost looks like someone splashed paint over this part of the body. It is pretty cool to look at, but it also symbolizes how air flows off the front flic, over the front wheel arch, and across the door before thinning out as it enters the rear air intakes.

Interior

2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car High Resolution Interior
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Acura hasn’t had much to say about the NSX GT3’s interior, but it did provide one image to give us a glimpse of what is going on inside. Needless to say, this baby looks like it’s ready to hit the track. As you would expect, there is an extensive roll cage, and a carbon-fiber racing seat. That seat is perched behind a flat-bottom steering wheel that has a large number of buttons on the left and right spokes. There is a driver information center ahead of the steering wheel that will probably be the home of all the information needed on the track.

The center stack has been somewhat redesigned for track purposes. The HVAC vents are still perched on top, but they appear to be a bit shorter. The infotainment screen has been replaced by a glossy panel that has a couple of buttons on it and may serve as another digital display. Down below that, where the infotainment controls normally sit, there’s another set of buttons, including what looks like an emergency cutoff switch. Everything on the inside, aside from the cage itself, looks to be made of carbon fiber, with the door skins sporting the NSXGT3 lettering toward the bottom. We’re looking forward to seeing more images of the interior so we can get a better look at this cabin. Surely, there are a few things in here that we have yet to see.

Drivetrain

2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Acura has yet to release too many details about the powertrain that will push this monster around the track, but there is some information to go by. We know that it will be powered by a 3.5-liter, 75-degree, twin-turbo, DOHC V-6 that uses the same design specifications as the engine in the road-going NSX. The same specifications for the engine block, cylinder heads, valvetrain, crankshaft, and even the pistons have been carried over to the GT3. It also uses a dry sump lubrication system like the road-going model. Power will be sent to the rear wheels by a six-speed, sequential-shift racing transmission.

In road-going form, the NSX produces 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque with the help of its electric drivetrain. In road-going form, the NSX has a top speed of 191 mph. Surely these figures will change somewhat for the GT3 class, but it’s impossible to say how much change there will be. When we receive official information, we will update this section, so stay tuned.

Prices

Much like the drivetrain, there is still a lot of mystery as far as pricing goes. As of this writing, the road-going NSX starts out at $168,400, so expect the NSX GT3 to cost significantly more. As a basis for comparison, the Porsche 911 GT3 R goes for $479,216 at current exchange rates (03/24/2016), so when it comes to the NSX GT3, expect a similar price point.

Competition

Porsche 911 GT3 R

2016 Porsche 911 GT3 R High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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We first laid eyes on the Porsche 911 GT3 R back in May of 2015. It’s based heavily on the Porsche GT3 RS, which was designed as a road-going car that was as close as possible to being a full-fledged race car. The 911 GT3 R is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six engine that produces 500 horsepower. It should be able to hit a 60 mph sprint in 4.4 seconds, with a top speed of 186 mph. The body of the GT3 R is composed primarily of carbon fiber, and features a black and white livery similar to a zebra. Inside, the car is all about business, featuring a single racing seat, roll cage, flat-bottom steering wheel, and a large control panel full of switches where the center stack is normally located. The GT3 is priced at €429,000, which at current exchange rates (03/24/2016) computes to $429,216.

Read our full review on the Porsche 911 GT3 R here.

McLaren 650S GT3

2015 McLaren 650S GT3 High Resolution Exterior
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The 650S was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014 as a replacement for the McLaren MP4-12C. Later on, in 2015, McLaren announced the 650S GT3 as a replacement for the 12C GT3. It was essentially an updated 12C GT3, but featured a large number of newly-developed parts that were said to make it more agile and faster on the track. In 2015, the 650S GT3 was powered by a 3.8-liter V-8 engine that featured twin turbochargers. A total of 493 horsepower is created by the 3.8-liter engine and is routed to the wheels via a six-speed sequential transmission that is pneumatically actuated by paddles on the steering wheel. The 650S GT3 was initially sold for £330,000, which is $467,626 at current exchange rates (03/24/2016).

Read our full review on the McLaren 650S GT3 here.

Conclusion

2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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It comes as no surprise that Acura has taken its prized supercar and threw it into the GT3 blender. With the production model made available for ordering just a month ago, Acura sure didn’t waste any time. I have a feeling the NSX GT3 is going to perform quite well once it can officially be used in GT3 races, of course, my judgment could be clouded by my opinion of Acura vehicles. Either way, the NSX is a prime piece of engineering that so far has proved it has the ability to stand against its rivals in road-going form. Now, we just have to wait until it officially hits the track. That first race should be a good one, and I will surely be watching to see how my new favorite race car does.

  • Leave it
    • Still going through testing

Update History

Updated 07/07/2016: Acura dropped a series of new images of its new NSX GT3 showing the car with exposed, lightweight, carbon fiber bodywork at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, MI. The car is in its final preparation phases for its homologation as an FIA GT3 class race car this fall.

Press Release

Acura took the wraps off a NSX GT3 racecar today at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, announcing its intention to campaign the twin-turbocharged NSX supercar in North America starting in 2017. The NSX is currently undergoing testing and slated for homologation as an FIA GT3 class racecar this fall.

2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The unveiled Acura NSX GT3 racecar featured custom bodywork and aero components including a large deck wing spoiler, underbody diffuser and enlarged hood vents for efficient engine cooling. The NSX GT3 will be powered by a 3.5-liter, 75-degree, twin turbocharged DOHC V-6 engine using the same design specifications as the engine in the production 2017 Acura NSX, including the block, heads, valvetrain, crankshaft, pistons and dry sump lubrication system. The engine will be paired with a 6-speed, sequential-shift racing gearbox, delivering power to the rear wheels.

The NSX GT3 will utilize the production NSX’s ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with aluminum-intensive space frame, which will be produced by the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, the exclusive manufacturing home for the new Acura NSX. Its twin turbocharged V-6 engine will also be manufactured in Ohio.

Initial development of the NSX GT3 was conducted by the company’s Japan race engineering arm with testing on race circuits in Europe and Japan. Additional development, testing and final homologation to FIA GT3 global racing specifications is currently being undertaken by the company’s North American race engineering group, Honda Performance Development (HPD), in Santa Clarita, California.

2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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"The NSX was designed as a pinnacle expression of Acura Precision Crafted Performance, and we’re looking forward to proving out its ultimate performance capabilities in GT3 racing," said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. "We’ll be working with the NSX engineering teams in Ohio and Japan to bring our dream of a truly world-class new Acura NSX racecar to fruition."

The Acura NSX GT3 car will join a rich legacy of Acura sports car racing campaigns and championships, including the 1991, 1992 and 1993 IMSA Camel Lights manufacturer and driver championships, and the 2009 American LeMans manufacturer, driver and team championships in both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes. Acura currently campaigns a pair of TLX GT cars with Real Time Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge.

2017 Acura NSX GT3 Race Car High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The production 2017 Acura NSX launches this spring with serial production slated to begin in late April at the Performance Manufacturing Center. Customer order taking commenced on February 25, 2016, with the launch of the NSX online configurator at NSX.Acura.com.

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