Acura NSX Type S Active Aero car for Pikes Peak

Acura, Honda's luxury brand in the States, will take to the 'Race in the Clouds' with new Integra and NSX

By John Howell / Thursday, 15 June 2023 / Loading comments

The ‘race in the clouds’ is coming up on 25th June. Pikes Peak inspires so many competitors because it’s a crazy blast. Really crazy, when you do the numbers: 12.42 miles, encompassing 156 sweeps and turns that test car and driver the limit. And no, that’s not the usual trite nonsense you hear trotted out about so many events – with its elevation change of 4,725 feet, leading to a 14,000-foot summit and all the opportunities to drop off the side from a great height, Pikes Peak is a proper, eye-boggling test.

Honda is back this year with its Acura brand – its luxury division centred in the U.S. And it’s fielding not one but four cars for this year’s event (actually, five if you include the pace car). One will be the race-prepped Intergra Type S, which will make its motorsports debut in Colorado. The Type S is based on the FL5 Type R, of course, and will run in the Exhibition division driven by Loni Unser (yes, from the same Unser clan that have accumulated numerous Indy 500 wins and raced at Pikes Peak since 1926). It’s been developed by Honda Performance Development, with some sticky Yokohama Advan A005 tyres, a Borla exhaust and various aero improvements, including a bespoke splitter, bonnet and rear swan-neck wing.

The Honda of America Racing Team will field a TLX Integra Type S, which is a little more extreme. It adds a larger turbo, more cooling and re-tuned mapping on the engine side, along with a one-inch drop in ride height and a 272kg weight reduction – in-part thanks to carbon/ composite panels. HART’s other effort is based on the Intergra 1.5 Turbo, with a Cusco limited-slip diff, HPD TCA suspension – plus Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs – HPD billet engine mounts and OMP steering wheel, seats and harnesses. Both the HART cars will be driven by Acura engineers (and Pikes Peak veterans) Jordan Guitar and Paul Hubers.

The star of the show is Acura NSX Type S Active Aero Study, though. This comes from Crazy New, which is the skunkworks division of HART that has a mission: ‘to dream up and build unique concepts before they’re funnelled into the mainstream HART race team programs,’ and ‘serves as a creative playground for Honda associates’. The idea being that the things they learn there will feed into future Honda and Acura products.

The NSX Type S, nicknamed ‘Yamabiko’ after mythical Japanese mountain god, is all about aero. You can probably see that to be fair. This was perfected at the new Honda Automotive Laboratories of Ohio wind tunnel  – claimed to be the most advanced in the world. It has both active and passive aero additions. The active side includes an active rear wing that acts as a drag reduction system (DRS) on the faster parts of the course and an airbrake during heavy braking. The passive side features the most enormous front splitter and something similarly extreme and protruding at the rear for the diffuser. The NSX Type S also uses Yokohama Advan A005 rubber fitted to lightweight HRE forged wheels, with more power thanks to larger turbos and remapped engine. It’s shed 91kg over the standard NSX. Again, it’ll be driven by one of Honda’s engineers, James Robinson, who claimed the Hybrid fuel class record (10:01.913) in an NSX in 2020.

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