The long-awaited second-generation Honda NSX will make its competition debut in the USA later this month on the fearsome Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado.
Honda’s new NSX sports car will make its first foray into the world of motorsport later this month, with the company entering two cars to be driven by members of its engineering team.
Coincidentally, the drivers are not only Honda engineers, but brothers and former Pikes Peak hillclimb racers in their own right.
The cars will compete in two different classes, with James Robinson entering a lightened and modified NSX in Time Attack 1, and brother Nick driving a standard-spec car in Time Attack 2.
Still, even in standard form the NSX – competing under its Acura name plate – should still be pretty handy up the 20km long tarmac course high in the Colorado Rockies, thanks to its 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 373kW and 550Nm, with a pair of electric motors mounted on each front wheel adding 73Nm each.
A third electric motor is mounted on the rear axle to reduce turbo lag delay from the petrol engine. Total output is 427kW and 646Nm.
This year’s competitive entries will no doubt be influenced by the NSX’s role as the pace car at last year’s Pikes Peak event.
Electric vehicles actually hold an advantage in the thin air; combustion engine cars lose a considerable amount of power in the climb from the start to the finish.
The US-built NSX has been in development for a number of years, and is set to reach Australia in limited numbers late in 2016.
The Pikes Peak Race to the Clouds hillclimb is one of the most notorious motorsport events in the world, though its gradual change from full gravel to all tarmac over the last five years has lessened the 156-corner event’s crash toll somewhat.
With the race starting more than 500m higher above sea level than Mt Kosciuszko (2800m) and finishing at a breathless 4300m above sea level, electric vehicles actually hold an advantage in the thin air; combustion engine cars lose a considerable amount of power in the climb from the start to the finish.
Honda will also race an NSX-bodied quad-electric engine concept called the SH-AWD at Pikes Peak, with three times the output of the Honda CR-Z EV concept that it used to win the Exhibition class in 2015 in the hands of touring car ace Tetsuya Yamano. The Japanese racer will also pilot the SH-AWD.
How do you think the NSXs will fare at Pikes Peak? Tell us what you think in the comments below.