The long-awaited Acura NSX hasn't even hit dealerships yet, but it looks like Honda's performance division is already plotting a GT version to go racing.
Steve Eriksen, vice president of Honda Performance Development, told Sportscar365 that an NSX race car is in the works. Honda is currently evaluating which class would best suit the NSX, and will decide between GT3 and GTE classes before the racer's expected launch in 2017.
If Honda decides to bring a GT3 car, Eriksen says, the NSX may replace the Acura TLX-GT. That model is on the tail end of its scheduled two-year run in the Pirelli World Challenge. Plus, it would require a bit of work for Honda to transform the racing TLX to meet FIA GT3 homologation requirements for 2016.
Whatever form the NSX race car takes, it is unlikely to include its production hybrid system. The standard Acura NSX will come equipped with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine and three electric motors for a total output of more than 550 hp.
“We certainly raced hybrids before in Japan. The CRZ raced as a hybrid, the Super GTs have been outfitted as hybrids at times," Eriksen said. "We know what to do but it doesn’t seem like the other manufacturers are ready for that yet."
The NSX GT may be built in California, where Honda Performance Development is headquartered. “Certainly America is likely to be the biggest market for the [NSX], so it makes sense to race it here,” he said.
Building the NSX GT race car to GT3 spec would make it eligible to compete in a number of different series, but not the premier event in sports car racing. Stepping up to GTE standards could mean Honda has its eyes on Le Mans. We'll have to wait and see what Honda decides, but we'd love to see the NSX return to Le Mans one day.