Time attack is a curious game. On paper it is one of the least exciting forms of motorsport; after all, watching cars go around a track for short stints to improve upon their own times isn’t exactly groundbreaking entertainment. But, despite this, the way it continues to grow, there’s obviously an interest there that keeps it going, and that’s really the cars themselves. In Japan, time attack has always been about the tuning; enthusiasts follow their favorite demo cars religiously, and in most cases, it’s a chance for most shops to push the envelope of engine and chassis tuning. To go balls-out extreme, if you will, an Esprit’s NSX is a perfect example of balls-out “crazy”. A car that once started as a bone-stock Type-S is now a lot closer to resembling the type of racer that takes home Super GT championships.
Sitting in a very quiet and dark pit garage at Suzuka Circuit, the Esprit NSX oozes the kind of personality that million dollar racecars usually have. Every detail has been fine tuned for the ultimate performance, from the angular and sculpted widebody to its highly-modified engine. All the work was done in house at Esprit’s workshop, less than a five-minute drive from the word famous track, and it’s painfully obvious no cost has been spared to guarantee the ultimate in quality and performance.
Take the aero package, for example: everything has been shaped to keep the car planted to the ground; massive carbon-fiber front and rear diffusers and a tall rear wing help out tremendously with downforce. The widened fenders increase the track of the car so it can handle more speed through the corners while air flows over and around it in a more efficient and less turbulent way. Carbon-fiber not only reduces weight but it’s strong, and that’s why they used a vented piece instead of a heavy factory metal hood, plus it helps move air out from the radiator, as well as the doors and engine cover. Even the trunk lid is made from carbon material and through its massive air scoop, forces air down into the rear-mounted intercooler.
With the goal to create the fastest NSX in Japan, and possibly the world, Esprit did what needed to be done; the resulting costs a mere necessity. With inspiration from Super GT NSX racecars, Esprit knew that in order to achieve the ultimate weight balance, you must change the engine’s layout so that it runs longitudinally. Doing this also allows you to use a Hewland sequential transmission, a must-have when it comes to racing. One might say that changing a car’s drivetrain configuration is excessive, but when it comes to competition, Esprit takes things very seriously. They tore the entire rear end apart and custom fabricated engine mounts to a steel rear subframe that would house the new engine configuration, transmission and the suspension. A used Hewland sequential was sourced and fitted onto the now 90° rotated CA30 by means of a custom-made bellhousing. As the V6 now sits “straight” in the chassis, a whole new twin-turbo system could be designed, an upgraded version of what the previous version of the demo car was running. A pair of Trust T517S turbos are used and mounted on custom manifolds, positioning them low on each side of the engine. To handle the extra boost and extreme racing, the alloy V6 was taken apart and the bottom end fortified with a balanced C32 crankshaft, Esprit’s own connecting rods and forged pistons. Esprit also ported and polished the cylinder head and developed their own cam grinds as well. The team tuned the engine with a HKS F-Con VPro ECU, and we’re proud to say, there’s 690 horses being produced, over double what the engine puts out in stock form.
When it came time to set up the suspension, who better to call for a little custom work than HKS? They delivered in fine form with specially made Hiper Max Pro coilovers that are setup to handle both Suzuka and Fuji Speedway. Braking now consists of 6-pot Endless front calipers and Brembo 4-pot rears with all sides mated to 355mm discs and Endless pads. And if you’re craving even more custom work, look no further than the interior. Pop the carbon doors open and peep the carbon firewall, which helps shield the driver from the heat and noise the V6 generates. A 12-point cage keeps the car’s driver, Tarzan Yamada safe as he’s positioned in the Bride bucket. A rear bumper cam is linked to a LCD screen since the rear engine cover blocks the rear view. On one of its first times out on a track, at HKS’ Premium Day, Tarzan posted a 1:43.594 lap time and securing a win in the 2WD Class of Option Max’s time attack.
After years of experimenting with naturally aspirated NSXs, it seems Esprit has the knack to not only make those setups winners, but also those that are force-fed. With this project, they’re ready to break records. Where exactly it will happen is anyone’s guess. We’ll just have to wait and see what Esprit delivers us, and it better be the goods.
1994 Honda NSX Type-S (NA1)
Hometown Suzuka, japan
Occupation Sick car builder
Power 690hp, 495lb-ft
Engine C30A engine, custom fitted in longitudinal position; Esprit custom engine mounts, forged pistons, connecting rods, balanced C32 crankshaft, ported/polished cylinder heads, cams, stainless steel manifolds, stainless exhaust, intake pipes, intercooler piping with custom twin-entry end tanks, intake plenum, dry sump, oil pan, oil tank, radiator and air separator system; Trust/GReddy T517Z turbos (x2), intercooler and oil cooler; HKS SPF air filters and fuel pump; Nissan Q45 throttle bodies
Drivetrain OS Giken twin-plate clutch and limited-slip differential; Esprit custom bell housing; Hewland 6-speed sequential transaxle transmission
Engine Management HKS F-Con VPro ECU
Footwork & Chassis HKS Hiper Max Pro adjustable suspension; Esprit custom rear subframe
Brakes Endless 6-pot front calipers; Brembo F40 4-pot rear calipers; Endless 355mm brake discs and brake pads
Wheels & Tires 18x9.5" Prodrive GC-010G wheels; 265/35R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE11S tiresexterior
Exterior Esprit full widebody kit, including front bumper, carbon-fiber front diffuser under cover, dummy headlights, hood, wide front fenders, doors, GT side skirts, wide rear fenders, rear bumper, engine cover, trunk lid with intercooler intake, adjustable GT wing and rear diffuser; Craft Square carbon-fiber side mirrors
Interior fully spot-welded chassis; custom rollcage and engine bay reinforced structure; custom carbon-fiber firewall; Bride Low Max bucket seats; HPI racing harness; MOMO steering wheel; custom extended steering boss; Stack dash unit; HKS boost gauge and EVC Black Limited boost controller; Lapshot P-LAPII lap timer; Auto Meter fuel gauge; carbon-fiber center console with rear-view LCD monitor; custom Esprit shift lever and linkage
www esprit.to; greddy.com; motovicity.com (HKS)