The 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec makes its racing debut at the event. In stock form, the sedan makes 290 hp from its 3.5-liter V-6, but for the race, Honda cranked up the output to 500 hp. Along with the new turbocharged engine, the model features a modified suspension and a limited-slip differential for more effective transfer of power to the front wheels. The exterior features a carbon-fiber splitter and standoff rear wing, while the interior has been stripped out to reduce weight. Behind the wheel will sit Honda R&D engineer Nick Robinson, who drove the 2017 NSX to victory in the Time Attack 2 Production class at last year's Pikes Peak race.
A TLX GT will also compete in the race with a new suspension and software mapping as well as an updated transmission allowing for faster acceleration out of the hill's turns. It features the same twin-turbo V-6 motor setup as the TLX GT that competed in the Pirelli World Challenge series from 2014 to 2016. Aerodynamic modifications include the addition of front fender louvres and revised dive planes.
The NSX returns to Pikes Peak this year to compete in the Time Attack 1 class, and James Robinson, brother of Nick Robinson and member of Honda's R&D North American powertrain development group, will sit behind the wheel. The NSX that competed in the Time Attack 1 class didn't winlast year, but Acura is trying to increase its chances by improving the car with elements from the NSX GT3. The NSX has dropped weight and added aerodynamic features including a bigger wing and front splitter.
This year marks the 95th running of the Hill Climb, which begins at 9,390 feet and concludes at the summit of America's Mountain at 14,115 feet. The race features 156 hair-raising turns around a 12.42-mile course.
In addition to its participation in the race, Acura is the Official Pace Car sponsor of the event, and the TLX will serve as the pace car. MDX SUVs will serve as Rookie Orientation vehicles leading up to the race.