When Honda decided to replace the NSX-GT they knew they only had one man to rely on: Keinosuke Taki. Creating a replacement for the NSX would surely be a daunting task, but as the chassis Project Leader for the NSX in 1990 and the Deputy Project Leader of the NSX-GT project, there was no better man for the job. As appointed Development Project Leader of the HSV-010 GT Taki-san set out to create the "ultimate concerning machine" and what a great job he's done.
But why replace the NSX-GT in the first place? It's one of the best-designed GT cars of all time with arguably the most efficient aerodynamics. Contrary to popular belief, the NSX isn't being retired due to its production cancellation but rather a change in the Super GT rulebook for the 2010 season. Under the new rules every car participating in GT500 must have an FR layout, making the NSX and its MR design illegal.
Couldn't Honda just redesign the NSX using an FR configuration? Probably, but why not start with a platform designed from day one to have the engine in the front. This is exactly why Honda implemented the HSV and in doing so they have exploited the design as much as possible. The result is a car that surpasses the NSX-GT in every way, albeit a tad futuristic looking.
I thought that Super GT cars had to be based off production vehicles? I've never heard of a Honda HSV. That's because Honda has never sold the HSV. Some of you attuned to the automotive rumor mill may remember the rumblings of Honda's successor to the NSX that was to be an AWD V10 - that concept was supposed to become the HSV. Unfortunately, due to the poor global economy Honda decided to scrap the project. They just didn't think it was the right time to release a supercar.
So the HSV is designed off a car that doesn't exist? Isn't that illegal? Not exactly, Honda was able to petition for special permission from the powers that be in Super GT to be exempt from the homologation typically required for entry in the series. After careful review the committee allowed Honda to participate on the grounds that the car the HSV is based off of was in fact a production-ready vehicle, despiteits cancellation.
These are just some of the questions that have been shrouding the HSV project since its inception. With the exception of a few spy photos and some very brief data it's been quite difficult to track down any information on the HSV. I had hoped to get a good look at one in January at Tokyo Auto Salon but I was sadly disappointed to find that Honda didn't have a single example on display. But I'm sure Honda had their reasons.
The images on these pages were shot at a pre-season test day at Suzuka and are probably the most detailed shots you'll see of the cars sans livery with carbon shells exposed. This was the first time the media got a good look at these cars and the performance they are capable of. All five teams campaigning the new chassis were there - Keihin, EPSON, Raybrig, ARTA and Weider.
One of the first things that stand out about the HSV is its uncharacteristically short rear-overhang. Super GT has wheelbase and overhang length restrictions and most teams take up close to the full-allotted space but Honda decided to try something different. Rather than running the overhang back they kept it short and instead mounted an external wing upright - a first for Super GT. What effect the short rear end will have is still waiting to be seen.
At the time of writing Super GT has completed the first two races of the season. The Weider HSV was the pole sitter for the season opener proving that the new car was going to be a hand full for the other teams. Unfortunately, the car came in contact with the ARTA HSV on the tenth lap and sent both cars violently into the wall (see YouTube link) and caused minor damage to the EPSON car in the process. It was Honda's worst nightmare, two of the five cars would DNF the first race of the season, one of which being the frontrunner.
But it wasn't all bad news at Suzuka, the Raybrig car placed third giving the HSV a podium spot on its first official outing. While Honda had hoped for a better result this was by no means a failure. The teams had all gained valuable race data and Honda would look forward to the next event at Okayama, a tighter more technical track where the NSX had excelled in the past.
Again the Weider HSV would take the pole position with the fastest qualifying lap. This time the team wanted to make sure they could back it up and finish the race in first. As soon as the race begun the #18 car pulled away from the field and ended up finishing in a very comfortable first and also clocked the fastest lap time of the race, reinforcing the car's abilities. So far it seems that the Weider HSV is the car to beat, we can only wait and see how it does later in the season with more weight. So could 2010 be Honda's year in Super GT? It sure as hell seems like it!
Fun Facts about the HSV The name HSV is an acronym for Honda Sports Velocity.
The car uses larger wheels in the front than it does in the back. Though it might seem backwards from typical tuning methods it all comes down to weight. Regardless of its aterial composition the smaller a wheel is the lighter it is. The idea is to have a wheel that is as small as possible while still clearing the brakes.
The exterior wing support doubles as an exhaust guard. Honda once had a very bad experience with an NSX-GT catching fire after being rear-ended in a race due to the exhaust being shifted. With the wing in place the exhaust is thoroughly protected.
Unlike most Super GT cars, Honda decided to retain the single-exit style exhaust from the NSX-GT. The HSV uses an 8-4-2-1 design that Honda admits doesn't make as much power as other prototypes they made, but sounds much better. Honda was very persistent about making sure the HSV sounded like a Honda.
The aesthetic design concept for the HSV was based off predatory birds.
2010 Honda HSV-010 GT
Power 500bhp (GT500 regulation) 289lb-ft
Engine 3.4L naturally-aspirated DOHC V8 HR10EG
Drivetrain Ricardo constant mesh transmission, paddle shift
Footwork & Chassis Double wishbone suspension with torsion stabilizer bars
Brakes Spoon front calipers; Fastbrakes 2-piece front rotors, solid rear rotor; Carbotech XP-10 pads; Goodridge stainless brake lines; Integra 1'' master cylinder and booster; Cusco master cylinder brace
Wheels & Tires 18X13'' front 17X13'' rear center-locking wheels; 330/40R18 front 330/45R17 rear tires
Exterior Full dry carbon body construction (except roof per Super GT rules)