Unless you're a hard-core motorsports fan, chances are you don't follow the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. But for '17, Honda fans have something to get excited about with a pair of second-generation Acura NSXs competing in the series.
We were invited to the inaugural race for the two NSX race cars managed by Michael Shank Racing at the 55th Rolex 24 in Daytona, Florida. Now before we delve into anything too deep, there's a lot that goes on at Rolex 24—four different classes, 55 total entries, and too many drivers and teams to tell you about.
The NSX duo fits under the GT Daytona (GTD) class, which has the toughest competition with 27 cars and opponents like Porsche, Mercedes, and Ferrari. What's also tough about this class is how the playing field is balanced. It's IMSA's job to monitor each team and adjust each team's aero, weight, ride height, and power accordingly to ensure the playing field is as equal as possible so no team has unfair advantage. We also can't forgot to mention that all cars are on Continental Tires and limited to a 180-mph top speed and 500 hp—the NSX comes with 573 hp, so Michael Shank teams have to detune performance, not to mention convert to the drivetrain from all-wheel to rear-wheel drive. The new NSXs also use three electrical motors, all of which also had to be removed to fall within IMSA rules. Despite these restrictions, the NSX still has a lot to prove using a new engine and chassis to go up against V-8-powered and boosted competitors with much more experience.
2017 will be the year for Honda/Acura to show the NSX belongs with the other big boys of IMSA. And since we were there to watch these cars tough it out at perhaps one of the most challenging races around the world, here are some impressive numbers about the cars and race that are sure to open your eyes.
24 - Hours of the race
3.56 - Miles each lap
8,000+ - Continental tires brought to Daytona
70 - Continental employees dismounting and mounting tires
55 - Cars competing at Rolex 24
2 - NSX race cars
8 - Drivers for Michael Shank Racing
40 - Team members for Michael Shank Racing
500 - Horsepower
175 - Mph top speed
115 - F highest recorded cockpit temperature on race
32 - Pit stops
11 - Driver changes
3 - Hours longest stint by a driver
2 to 6 - Hours of sleep per driver
480 - Gallons of fuel consumed
1,251 - Laps finished
4,453.56 - Miles finished