• The Acura NSX Sets Pikes Peak Record for Hybrid Production Cars

Race-spec versions of the 2021 TLX also did well in the Race to the Clouds

LISTEN 05:28

Acura has been in peak form at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The Japanese automaker showed up at Race to the Clouds with a 2019 NSX and a pair of race-spec 2021 TLX sedans to make a statement in a highly competitive field. Consider that mission accomplished as the NSX, with driver James Robinson behind the wheel, set a new record for production hybrid models with a time of 10:01.913. The new record is 0.5 seconds quicker than the old record, which Robinson also set in 2018 with a 2017 NSX. The pair of 2021 TLX sedans also performed well, finishing fifth and sixth in the Exhibition class with drivers Jordan Guitar and Justin Lombard piloting the race-prepped sedans.

How did the 2019 Acura NSX perform at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb?

The Acura NSX Sets Pikes Peak Record for Hybrid Production Cars
- image 931848

Driver James Robinson set the record for production hybrid cars in 2018 with a time of 10:02.448. That record didn’t last long, though. Two years after claiming it with the NSX, Robinson and Acura returned to the scene of their triumph and promptly dispatched their old record by clocking a time of 10:01.913 this time around. That’s 0.5 seconds faster than the old record.

How did the 2019 NSX beat the 2017 NSX’s record at Pikes Peak?

The Acura NSX Sets Pikes Peak Record for Hybrid Production Cars
- image 931842

Both models are powered by the same 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that produces 500 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Assisting the engine are three separate electric motors, specifically one motor that sits between the engine and the sports car’s nine-speed dual-clutch transaxle. This unit produces 47 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, a twin-motor unit sits in the front, producing 36 horsepower and 54 pound-feet of torque.

Altogether, the 2017 NSX’s hybrid powertrain produces a total output of 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the NSX to 60 mph from a stand-still position in just three seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 191 mph.
The Acura NSX Sets Pikes Peak Record for Hybrid Production Cars
- image 931841

The 2019 model comes with the same hybrid powertrain setup so, evidently, the improvements must come from other areas. Acura did claim that the 2019 NSX is faster around Suzuka by an impressive two seconds compared to its predecessor. The truth is that the improvements for the 2019 model are incremental but no less important. Adding more power to the 2019MY NSX’s hybrid powertrain wasn’t Acura’s objective; it was improving the sports car’s handling capabilities.

On that end, the 2019MY NSX arrived with stiffer front and rear stabilizer bars.
The Acura NSX Sets Pikes Peak Record for Hybrid Production Cars
- image 931844

Acura also made subtle tweaks to the car’s steering. But the big difference is the set of tires it’s sitting on. For the 2019MY NSX, Acura ditched the Continental SportContact 5P tires and replaced them with a set of Continental ContiSportContact 6 tires that provide more grip even at lower temperatures. It’s not a significant change on the surface, but if you let the 2019 NSX set a timed lap in a place where the air is thinner and the temperature is cooler, those tires will play big roles in helping the 2019 NSX set a record lap, just as it did at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

How did the two race-spec 2021 Acura TLX 2.0 models do in their first competitive run?

The Acura NSX Sets Pikes Peak Record for Hybrid Production Cars
- image 931847

About as well as you’d expect considering that Pikes Peak was the first competitive run for these two race-spec sedans. Drivers Jordan Guitar and Justin Lumbard, both engineers at Acura’s Ohio R&D Center, finished fifth and sixth in the Exhibition Class, respectively. Guitar clocked a lap time of 11:37.219 while Lumbard, a rookie in the world of Pikes Peak, completed a lap in 12:10.008.

The production version of the 2021 Acura TLX is expected to arrive at dealerships at the end of the month (September 28). Two versions of the TLX will be available in the market, beginning with the standard TLX 2.0 that’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Acura’s promise to make the TLX the “quickest, best-handling, and most well-appointed sport sedan in the brand’s 35-year history” is evident in how much extra output — 66 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque — it boasts compared to the outgoing model. The TLX 2.0 will be the first of the two models to arrive.

The Acura NSX Sets Pikes Peak Record for Hybrid Production Cars
- image 931850

The performance-spec TLX Type S isn’t scheduled to hit dealerships until next year, but, this early, the model is already making waves. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 that will produce around 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It’s also loaded with new features and technologies, all of which explains why the Type S will reportedly cost more than $50,000. Interestingly, a third 2021 TLX — an early development prototype for the Type S — served as the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb’s official Pace Car.

Acura 2020 Pikes Peak Results
Vehicle Driver Class 2020 Result
2019 NSX James Robinson Time Attack 1 10:01.9133rd in Class, New Hybrid Record
2021 TLX 2.0T Jordan Guitar Exhibition Class 11:37.2195th in Class
2021 TLX 2.0T Justin Lumbard(Rookie) Exhibition Class 12:10.0086th in Class
Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author

Acura captured a sixth consecutive podium at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, with driver James Robinson finishing third in the highly competitive Time Attack 1 class. Robinson’s time of 10:01.913 in a 2019 NSX, bested his previous fast time of 10:02.448 (set in 2018) to establish a new record for a production vehicle with a hybrid powertrain.

Two race prepared 2021 Acura TLXs made their motorsports debut at the 2020 “Race to the Clouds”, ahead of the second-generation sport sedan’s arrival at dealers on Sept. 28. Drivers Jordan Guitar and Justin Lumbard, both engineers at the company’s Ohio R&D Center, finished fifth and sixth in class, respectively.

Acura’s 2020 Pikes Peak Results:

Vehicle

Driver

Class

2020 Result

2019 NSX

James Robinson

Time Attack 1

10:01.913
3rd in Class, New Hybrid Record

2021 TLX 2.0T

Jordan Guitar

Exhibition Class

11:37.219
5th in Class

2021 TLX 2.0T

Justin Lumbard
(Rookie)

Exhibition Class

12:10.008
6th in Class

A third 2021 TLX, an early development prototype for the upcoming Type S high performance variant, served as the hill climb’s official Pace Car. Driving the TLX Type S was Nick Robinson, a principal engineer in the company’s Chassis Development Group and Pikes Peak veteran with class wins on both two and four wheels and current front-wheel drive record holder.

Pikes Peak serves as a test bed for new Acura performance technologies and as an opportunity for the company’s engineers to further sharpen their performance-focused driving and engineering skills. The Acura Pikes Peak race team is comprised of a group of volunteer engineers who are responsible for all aspects of competition, including the development of vehicles, race prep, crew support and navigating race cars to the finish line.

About Acura Motorsports
Acura Motorsports programs have been integral to the Acura brand since its launch in 1986. The rich legacy of Acura sports car racing includes the 1991, 1992, and 1993 IMSA Camel Lights manufacturer/driver championships, and the 2009 American LeMans manufacturer, driver, and team championships in both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes. Acura currently campaigns the ARX-05 DPi with Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and won the team, manufacturer, and driver championships in 2019. The NSX GT3 Evo, available through HPD for North American customers, won multiple championships in 2019 in both the IMSA and SRO World Challenge series.

About Acura
Acura is a leading automotive nameplate that delivers Precision Crafted Performance – a commitment to expressive styling, high performance and innovative engineering, all built on a foundation of quality and reliability. The Acura lineup features five distinctive models – the ILX and TLX sport sedans, the RDX and MDX sport-utility vehicles and the next-generation, electrified NSX supercar. All Acura models sold in North America for the 2021 model year are made in the U.S., using domestic and globally sourced parts.

Additional media information including pricing, features & specifications and high-resolution photography is available at AcuraNews.com. Consumer information is available at Acura.com.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release

Related Articles

The 2021 Acura TLX Is a Luxury Sports Sedan that BMW and Mercedes Should Worry About

2019 Acura NSX Pikes Peak Pace Car

2019 Acura NSX

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: