Honda NSX (first generation)

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Honda NSX
AcuraNSX-05-cropped.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerHonda (Japan)
Acura (North America & Hong Kong)
Also called
  • Acura NSX (North America and Hong Kong)
  • Honda NSX-R (Japan)
ProductionAugust 1990 – November 30, 2005
AssemblyTakanezawa R&D Plant, Tochigi, Japan (1990–2004)
Suzuka R&D Plant, Suzuka, Japan (2004–2005)
Designer
Body and chassis
ClassSports car (S)
Body style2-door coupé
2-door targa top
LayoutTransverse mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedHonda HSC
Powertrain
Engine
Power output
  • 3.0-litre models: 270 hp (201 kW; 274 PS)
    210 lb⋅ft (285 N⋅m)
  • 3.2-litre models: 290 hp (216 kW; 294 PS)
    224 lb⋅ft (304 N⋅m)
Transmission
Dimensions
Wheelbase2,530 mm (99.6 in)
Length4,405 mm (173.4 in) (1991–1993)
4,425 mm (174.2 in) (1994–2005)
Width1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Height1,170 mm (46.1 in)
Curb weight
  • (1991–1992): 3,010 lb (1,370 kg)
  • (1993–1994): 3,020 lb (1,370 kg)
  • (1993–1995 NSX-R): 2,712 lb (1,230 kg)
  • (1995–1996): 3,142 lb (1,425 kg)
  • (1997–2001): 3,164 lb (1,435 kg)
  • (2002–2005): 3,153 lb (1,430 kg)
  • (2002–2005 NSX-R): 2,800 lb (1,300 kg)
Chronology
SuccessorHonda NSX (second generation)

The first generation Honda NSX, marketed in North America and Hong Kong as the Acura NSX, is a 2-seater, mid-engined sports car that was manufactured by Honda in Japan from 1990 to 2005.

Development[edit]

The transversely mounted 3.0-litre Honda C30A V6 engine

In 1984, Honda commissioned the Italian car styling house Pininfarina to design the concept car HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental),[2] which had a C20A 2.0 L V6 engine in a mid-mounted configuration. After Honda committed to a sports car project, the company management informed the engineers working on the project that the new car would have to be as fast as anything coming from Italy and Germany.[3] The HP-X concept car evolved into a prototype known as NS-X, which stood for "New", "Sportscar" "eXperimental".[4] The prototype and eventual production model—which was marketed as the NSX— were designed by a team led by Honda Chief Designer, Masahito Nakano, and Executive Chief Engineer, Shigeru Uehara (who were subsequently placed in charge of the S2000 project).

The original performance target for Honda's new sports car was the Ferrari 328 (and later, the 348) as the design neared completion. Honda intended its sports car to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari, while offering superior reliability and a lower price. For this reason, the 2.0 L V6 engine utilised in the HP-X was shelved and replaced with a more powerful 3.0 L VTEC V6 engine. Over the course of development of the NSX, many engines were used, ranging from the 2.7-litre single overhead camshaft V6 engine from the Honda Legend/Honda Coupé to the 3.0-liter single overhead camshaft V6 engine, used subsequently in 15 test mules.[5] The (non-VTEC) 3.0-litre double overhead camshaft 24-valve V6 engine selected for the production model generated a maximum power output of about 250 hp (186 kW; 253 PS) and 282 N⋅m (208 lb⋅ft) of torque. The engine was redesigned "to achieve the desired levels of performance and durability"; Honda designed a new cylinder block and cylinder heads, and the engine was equipped with the innovative variable valve timing shown recently on the company's home-market Integra.[6] Titanium connecting rods were used to lower reciprocating weight and higher strength which allow additional 700rpm bringing the engine's redline limit to 8,000rpm.

The exterior design had been specifically researched by Uehara after studying the 360-degree visibility inside an F-16 fighter jet's cockpit.[7] Thematically, the F-16 came into play in the exterior design as well as establishing the conceptual goals of the NSX. In the F-16 and other high performance air-crafts such as unlimited hydroplanes along with open-wheel race cars, the cockpit is located far forward and in front of the power plant. This "cab-forward" layout was chosen to optimize visibility while the long tail design enhanced high speed directional stability.[8] The NSX was designed to showcase several automotive technologies, many derived from Honda's F1 motor-sports program.

The NSX was the first production car to feature an all-aluminium semi-monocoque,[9] incorporating a revolutionary extruded aluminium alloy frame and suspension components. The use of aluminium saved nearly 200 kg (441 lb) of weight over the use of steel in the body alone, while the aluminium suspension arms saved an additional 20 kg (44 lb); a suspension compliance pivot helped maintain wheel alignment changes at a near zero value throughout the suspension cycle.[10] Other notable features included an independent, 4-channel anti-lock brake system; titanium connecting rods in the engine to permit reliable high-rpm operation; an electric power steering system;[11] Honda's proprietary VTEC variable valve timing system and in 1995, the first electronic throttle control fitted in Honda production car.

With a robust motorsports division, Honda had significant development resources at its disposal and made extensive use of them. Respected Japanese Formula One driver Satoru Nakajima, for example, was involved with Honda in the NSX's early on track development at Suzuka race circuit, where he performed many endurance distance duties related to chassis tuning. Brazilian Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna, who won many races in Formula One with Honda before his death in 1994, was considered Honda's main innovator in convincing the company to stiffen the NSX's chassis further after initially testing the car at Honda's Suzuka GP circuit in Japan. Senna further helped refine the original NSX's suspension tuning and handling spending a whole day test driving prototypes and reporting his findings to Honda engineers after each of the day's five testing sessions.[12] Senna also tested the NSX at the Nürburgring and other race tracks.[13] The suspension development program was far-ranging and took place at the Tochigi Proving Grounds, the Suzuka circuit, the 179-turn Nürburgring Course in Germany, HPCC, and Honda's newest test track in Takasu, Hokkaido.[14] Honda automobile dealer Bobby Rahal (two-time CART PPG Cup and 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion) also participated in the car's development.[15]

Official launch and production[edit]

The NSX made its first public appearances in 1989, at the Chicago Auto Show in February and at the Tokyo Motor Show in October of that year, receiving positive reviews. Honda revised the car's name from NS-X to NSX before commencement of production and sales. The NSX went on sale in Japan in 1990 at Honda Verno dealership sales channels, supplanting the Honda Prelude as the flagship model. The NSX was sold under Honda's Acura luxury brand starting in November 1990 in North America and Hong Kong.

Honda NSX (rear view)

Upon its official debut, the NSX design concept showcased Honda's technology, measuring only 1,170 mm (46 in) in height, making it only 141.3 mm (5.56 in) taller than the Ford GT40, an extreme GT racing car designed and funded solely to win at LeMans. The Japanese car maker's race track innovations and competitive history were further exemplified on the road by the NSX's ultra-rigid, ultra-light all aluminium monocoque chassis and front and rear double wishbone suspension, with forged control arms connected to forged alloy wheels. The car additionally boasted the world's first production car engine with titanium connecting rods, forged pistons, and ultra high-revving capabilities – the redline was at a lofty 8,300 rpm – all traits usually associated with track and race engineered cars. The NSX's exterior had a dedicated 23-step paint process, including an aircraft type chromate coating designed for chemically protecting the aluminium bodywork and a waterborne paint for the base coat to achieve a clearer, more vivid top color and a smoother surface finish.

Acura NSX (pre facelift)

The car's chassis rigidity and cornering/handling capabilities were the results of Ayrton Senna's consultation with NSX's chief engineers while testing the NSX prototype at Honda's Suzuka Circuit during its final development.[15] The NSX was initially assembled at the purpose-built Takanezawa R&D Plant in Tochigi from 1989 to early 2004, when it was moved to Suzuka Plant for the remainder of its production life. The cars were assembled by approximately 200 of Honda's highest-skilled and most experienced personnel, a team of hand-picked staff with a minimum of ten years assembly experience employed from various other Honda facilities to run the NSX operation.[3] After studying their main competitors such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, Honda engineers designed the NSX in search of the "perfect balance" between usable power and reliability and thus created a powerful naturally aspirated VTEC engine suitable for the extreme demands of both road and track.

Production of the first generation of the NSX ended on November 30, 2005. Sales in the United States and Canada ended in 2000 and 2005, respectively.

As of the end of June 2005, the NSX achieved total worldwide sales of more than 18,000 units over 15 years.[16]

NSX-R (1992)[edit]

Honda NSX-R

While the NSX always was intended to be a world-class sports car, engineers had made some compromises in order to strike a suitable balance between raw performance and daily driveability. For those NSX customers seeking a no-compromise racing experience, Honda decided in 1992 to produce a version of the NSX specifically modified for superior track performance at the expense of customary creature comforts. Thus, the NSX Type R (or NSX-R) was born. Honda chose to use its moniker of Type R to designate the NSX-R's race-oriented design.

Honda engineers started with a base NSX coupé and embarked on an aggressive program of weight reduction. Sound deadening, the audio system, spare tire, air conditioning system and traction control along with some of the electrical equipment were removed. The power leather seats were replaced with lightweight carbon-kevlar racing seats made by Recaro for Honda. However, electric windows and fore/aft electric seat adjusters were retained. The stock forged alloy wheels were replaced with lighter forged aluminium wheels produced by Enkei, which reduced the car's unsprung weight. The standard leather shift knob was replaced with a sculpted titanium piece. Overall, Honda managed to reduce approximately 120 kg (265 lb) of weigh as compared to the standard NSX, resulting in the NSX-R's final weight of 1,230 kg (2,712 lb).[17]

As found by the automotive press such as Car and Driver in their September 1997 issue's comparison of "Best Handling Car for more than $30K", the NSX, due to its mid-engine layout and rear-end link travel, was susceptible to a sudden oversteer condition during certain cornering manoeuvres. While this condition rarely occurred during normal driving conditions, it was much more prevalent on race tracks where speeds were much higher. To address the problem and improve the NSX-R's cornering stability at the limit, Honda added one aluminium bracket under the front battery tray and added one bracket in front of the front radiator to add more chassis rigidity replacing the entire suspension system with a more track oriented unit, featuring a stiffer front sway bar, stiffer suspension bushings, stiffer coil springs and stiffer dampers.

The standard NSX has a somewhat rearward bias in its spring and bar rates, where the rear was relatively quite stiff versus the front. This means that the lateral load transfer distribution, or the amount of load that is transferred across the front axle versus the rear while cornering, is rather rear biased. This can make the car quite lively and easy to rotate at low speed, but during high speed cornering, this effect becomes more pronounced and could be a handful to manage. To reduce the tendency to oversteer, Honda fitted softer rear tires on the NSX. For the NSX-R, Honda reversed the spring bias, placing stiffer springs on the front suspension along with stiffer front sway bar. This shifted the load transfer stiffness balance farther forward, resulting in more rear grip at the expense of front grip; this had the effect of decreasing the oversteer tendency of the car, making it much more stable while cornering at high speeds. Overall, the NSX-R utilises a much stiffer front sway bar along with stiffer springs than the standard NSX (21.0mm xt2.6mm front sway bar :F 3.0 kg/mm—R 4.0 kg/mm for the NSX versus F 8.0 kg/mm—R 5.7 kg/mm for the NSX-R).

Honda also increased the final drive ratio to a 4.235:1 in place of the 4.06:1, which resulted in faster gear changes. This change improved acceleration at the expense of top speed, and a higher (percentage) locking limited-slip differential was installed. Also, the NSX-R's 3.0 litres (2,977 cc) engine had a blueprinted and balanced crankshaft assembly which is exactly the same labour-intensive high precision process done for Honda racing car engines built by highly qualified engine technicians, which produced 280 PS (276 bhp; 206 kW) at 7300 rpm and 294 N⋅m; 217 lbf⋅ft (30 kg⋅m) of torque at 5400 rpm.[18]

Beginning in late November 1992, Honda produced a limited number of 483 NSX-R variants exclusively for the Japanese domestic market (JDM). Factory optional equipment included air conditioning, Bose stereo system, carbon fibre interior trim on the centre console as well as the doors and larger wheels painted in Championship White (16-inches at the front and 17-inches at the rear) were available for a hefty premium. Production of the NSX-R ended in September, 1995.

NSX-T (1995)[edit]

Honda NSX-T

Beginning in 1995, the NSX-T with a removable targa top in black colour was introduced in Japan as a special order option and in North America in March 1995.[19] The NSX-T replaced the standard coupé entirely in North America as the only version available post 1994 and all NSXs thereafter were available in targa bodystyle with the notable exceptions of the Zanardi Special Edition NSX in 1999 and a handful of special order post-1997/pre-2002 3.2-litre cars. The European market continued to offer both body styles. The removable roof resulted in decreased chassis rigidity and Honda added about 100 pounds (45 kg) of structural reinforcements to compensate, including significantly thicker frame sidesill rocker panels (the body component which contributes most to the chassis's rigidity[20]), bulkheads, roof pillars and the addition of new front/rear bulkhead and floorpan crossmembers. The targa models, manufactured for the rest of the NSX's production run through 2005, sacrificed weight and some of the original coupé's chassis rigidity in return for an open cockpit driving experience. In addition to this major change, all subsequent NSX-Ts (1995–2001) had smaller-diameter front sway bars, slightly stiffer front springs, softer rear springs and firmer shock-dampers[21] to improve ride comfort and tire wear while reducing the tendency towards oversteer common in mid-engined vehicles. All roofs post 1995 were now body-coloured instead of black, although in Japan, the two-tone black roof/body colour was still available as an optional feature. A lighter version of the variable ratio electric assisted power steering rack, previously found exclusively in the cars equipped with the automatic transmission, became standard on all models. Starting in 1995, the 5-speed transmission's second gear ratio was lowered by 4.2% to improve driveability and provide better response and automatic transmissions received an optional Formula One-inspired Sport Shift with a unique steering column mounted electronic shifter. Manual transmission cars received an improved Torque Reactive limited-slip differential – when combined with a new Throttle-By-Wire system, increased corner exit speeds by 10%. Other innovations beginning in 1995 included a new and lighter exhaust system and muffler configuration for greater efficiency and lower emissions, an OBD-II onboard diagnostic system, improvements in the Traction Control System (TCS) and newly developed fuel injectors.

1997 performance upgrades[edit]

In 1997, Honda introduced the NSX's biggest performance upgrade for all its worldwide markets. Engine displacement was increased from 3.0 L to 3.2 L[22] using a thinner fiber-reinforced metal (FRM) cylinder liner. The exhaust manifold was reconfigured and made of stainless steel header pipes rather than a cast-iron manifold for improved performance and lighter weight. The increased flow from this new configuration was a key contributor to the 20 additional horsepower drawn from the new engine. This revised 3.2 L C32B engine gave it slightly increased power output: from 274 PS (202 kW; 270 hp) to 294 PS (216 kW; 290 hp) while torque increased from 285 N⋅m (210 lb⋅ft) to 304 N⋅m (224 lb⋅ft) (for cars equipped with manual transmission only). The net result increased the power to weight ratio of the NSX by 7%. The 4-speed automatic model retained its 3.0 L engine and 252 hp power output. Another big change was the adoption of a 6-speed manual transmission with closer gear ratios and the addition of 3rd to 4th gear dual cone synchronizers. To handle the new engine's added torque and power the small diameter twin-disc clutch system of the 5-speed was replaced by a dual-mass low-inertia single disc clutch system. To offset the weight increase of the new 6-speed transmission and larger brake rotors, which had increased diameter from 11.1 in (281.9 mm) to 11.732 inches (298.0 mm), key body parts were made with a new aluminium alloy that was up to 50% stronger allowing the thinner lighter material to be used in the doors, fenders, and front and rear deck lids without any sacrifice of strength and rigidity. Using this hi-strength alloy the net curb weight increase, despite adding many improvements, was only 10 kg (22 lb). Other notable changes included a keyless entry system and vehicle immobilizer system. The combination of slightly increased power and torque and a new 6-speed transmission, with ratios optimized to improve straight-line acceleration, produced better performance numbers over previous models than the modest increases would suggest. Motor Trend[23] and Road & Track's (Feb 97) tests of the 3.2 L 6-speed equipped NSX-T (Targa) resulted in 0–60 mph acceleration times of 4.8 and 5.0 seconds and quarter-mile times of 13.3 and 13.5 seconds respectively.[24] 0–60 mph times dropped to as low as 4.5 seconds in the coupé 3.2 L variant as recorded by Car and Driver in their August 1998 0–150–0 issue. The NSX proved to be the fastest ever tested in North America when tested by the magazine. When Car and Driver tested the 1999 Zanardi special edition coupé a year later it resulted in a 0–60 mph acceleration time of 4.8 seconds and a 13.2 second quarter-mile time. Although magazine tests for the later face-lifted NSX were rare, Honda apparently kept improving the engine as Sports and Exotic Car magazine noted in a farewell article on a 2005 NSX-T and recorded a 0–60 mph acceleration time of 4.7 seconds and a 13.1 second quarter-mile.

1997 NSX-S and S-Zero (JDM)[edit]

NSX Type S

Along with the engine displacement increase in 1997, Japan exclusively received the NSX Type S (NSX-S) and NSX Type S-Zero (NSX-S-Zero), weighing in at 1,320 kg (2,910 lb) and 1,270 kg (2,800 lb) respectively. Both came with a Titanium Shift Knob, MOMO steering wheel, BBS lightweight aluminium wheels, Recaro full bucket carbon-kevlar Alcantara/leather seats, mesh design engine cover (like the Type-R) and a colored roof. Both had a stiffer suspension than the standard NSX.

The S-Zero is a more circuit-oriented version of the standard Type S. The suspension is even stiffer by using the NA1 Type R's (1992 to 1995) suspension but retaining the Type S's larger rear sway bar. Unlike the standard Type S, the S-Zero did not offer cruise control, stereo, power door locks, airbags, air conditioning, traction control, power steering, fog lights or a navigation system. Honda came up with a new lightweight lead-acid battery and halved the thickness of the partition glass between engine bay and cabin to reduce even more weight. Changes were also made to the interior's manual transmission boot shifter, replacing the original material from leather to mesh. Much of the sound deadening material was also removed to reduce weight. Making the S-Zero 50 kg (110 lb) lighter than the Type S.

1999 NSX "Alex Zanardi" edition (USA)[edit]

Produced exclusively for the United States, the NSX Alex Zanardi Edition was introduced in 1999 to commemorate Alex Zanardi's two back-to-back CART Champ Car championship wins for Honda / Acura in 1997 and 1998. Only 51 examples were built, and they were available only in New Formula Red to reflect the color of the winning Car Zanardi drove for Chip Ganassi Racing.

The Zanardi Edition was similar to the Japanese market NSX Type S. Visible differences between the Zanardi Edition and the Type S were the Zanardi's left-hand drive, black leather and suede seats with red stitching, airbag-equipped Acura steering wheel, and a brushed-aluminium plaque with an engraved Acura logo, Zanardi's signature, and a serial number on the rear bulkhead. Total vehicle weight was reduced by 149 pounds (68 kg) as compared to the NSX-T, through the use of a fixed roof, lighter rear spoiler, single pane rear glass, lightweight BBS alloy wheels, a lighter battery, and a manual rack-and-pinion steering system in place of the electric power steering.

Zanardi Number 0 was a press car that also appeared in auto shows across the country. In a handling test in Road & Track's June 1999 issue, the Zanardi NSX placed second against the Dodge Viper GTS-R, Lotus Esprit, Porsche 911 Carrera 4, Ferrari F355 Spider, and Chevrolet Corvette C5 Coupé. The car was also featured in Car and Driver's July 1999 issue before being sold to a private individual.[citation needed]

Zanardi Number 1 belongs to Zanardi himself and was not given a North American VIN. The car is rumored to have been modified by Honda with hand-activated throttle, braking, and shifting mechanisms to accommodate Zanardi's loss of both legs resulting from his Lausitzring crash in 2001.[citation needed]

Zanardi numbers 2 through 50 were sold to the general public through dealers.

2002 NSX facelift[edit]

Honda NSX (post-facelift)

In December 2001, the NSX received a facelift in order to keep the car more modern looking like its competitors. The original pop-up headlamps were replaced with fixed xenon HID headlamp units, along with slightly wider rear tires to complement a revised suspension. Front spring rates were increased from 3.2 kg/m to 3.5 kg/m, rear spring rates were increased from 3.8 kg/m to 4.0 kg/m and the diameter of the rear stabilizer bar increased from 17.5 mm to 19.1 mm with a 2.3 mm wall thickness. The tail light housings were also revised along with the front airdam and rear spoiler. The twin exhaust tips were replaced with quad units.

Due to the changes in design, the drag coefficient slightly dropped to 0.30 which contributed to improvement in acceleration and top speed with an improvement 0–125 mph (0–201 km/h) acceleration time by 0.2 seconds and an increased top speed of 175 mph (282 km/h).[25]

Acura NSX facelift

The coupé was no longer available in North America from 2002 onwards. The NSX was now made available in a number of exterior colours with either a matching or black interior to provide a number of possible colour combinations. A 4-speed automatic transmission with manual-type shift option also became available.

NSX-R facelift (2002)[edit]

Honda NSX-R (post-facelift)
Rear view

A second iteration of the NSX-R was unveiled in 2002, again exclusively in Japan. As with the first NSX-R, weight reduction was the primary focus for performance enhancement. The NSX-R was again based on the coupé, due to its lighter weight and more rigid construction. Carbon fibre was used to a large extent throughout the body components to reduce weight, including a larger and more aggressive rear spoiler, vented hood and deck lid. The vented hood was said to be the largest one-piece carbon-fiber hood used in a production road car. Additionally, the original NSX-R's weight reduction techniques were repeated, including deletion of the audio system, sound insulation and air conditioning. Furthermore, the power steering was removed. A single-pane rear divider was again used, as were Recaro carbon-kevlar racing seats. Finally, larger yet lighter wheels resulted in a total weight reduction of almost 100 kg (220 lb) to 1,270 kg (2,800 lb).[26]

The 3.2 L (3,179 cc) DOHC V6 engine received special attention as well. Each car's engine was hand assembled by a skilled technician using techniques normally reserved for racing programs. Components of the rotating assembly (pistons, rods and crank) were precision weighed and matched so that all components fell within a very small tolerance of weight differential. Then, the entire rotating assembly was balanced to a level of accuracy, ten times than that of a typical NSX engine. This balancing and blueprinting process significantly reduced parasitic loss of power due to inertial imbalance, resulting in a more powerful, free-revving powerplant with an excellent throttle response.[27] Officially, Honda maintains that the power output of the 2002 NSX-R's engine is rated at 290 hp (294 PS; 216 kW) at 7300 rpm and 304 N⋅m; 224 lbf⋅ft (31 kg⋅m) of torque at 5300 rpm,[28] which is identical to the standard NSX. The automotive press, however, has long speculated that the true output of the engine is higher.[29]

Creating the impression of increased power, the accelerator was re-tuned, becoming much more sensitive to movement, particularly at the beginning of the pedal's new shorter stroke.[30] This, coupled with the harsh suspension, makes it difficult for the driver to drive smoothly at low speeds on streets with even slight bumps. The lack of power steering has also been noted by drivers as making the car tiring and hard to steer at low speed.[31]

The result of Honda's second NSX-R effort was a vehicle that could challenge the latest sports car models on the track, despite having a base design that was more than 15 years old. For example, noted Japanese race and test driver Motoharu Kurosawa piloted a 2002 NSX-R around the Nurburgring road course in 7:56, a time equal to a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale.[32] The NSX-R accomplished this feat despite being out-powered by the Ferrari by over 100 bhp (75 kW).

NSX-R GT (JDM)[edit]

After the launch of the facelifted NSX-R, Honda developed a more agile, more responsive, and quicker limited edition NSX-R called the NSX-R GT. The NSX-R GT was created by Honda solely to comply with the Super GT production-based race car homologation requirements. As JGTC rules required at least five production cars for any race car version to compete, as a result the NSX-R GT was limited to a production run of only five cars.

The differences between the Second-Gen NSX-R and the NSX-R GT are not fully known. One clear difference is the addition of a non-functional snorkel attached to the roof of the car. In the JGTC NSX race cars however, this snorkel is fully functional, feeding outside air to an individual throttle body intake plenum. The NSX-R GT also has a lowered suspension and widened body. More aggressive aerodynamic components such as an extended front spoiler lip and large rear diffuser were used as well. It was also speculated that the NSX-R GT incorporates more weight savings over the NSX-R. Honda never advertised what, if any, changes were made to the 3.2L DOHC V6 for the NSX-R GT.

2008 NSX Mugen RR concept[edit]

At the 2008 Tokyo Auto Salon, Honda unveiled a Honda NSX Mugen RR concept vehicle, which included 255/35R18 and 335/30R18 tyres, widened front, multi-grooved rear diffuser and a large, adjustable rear wing.[33] The Mugen NSX RR concept is powered by a modified Honda 3.2 L V6 engine, and has had its mounting position changed from transverse to longitudinal. The change in mounting position, done in-house at Mugen's facility via custom mounts, subframe, transmission, and other key components, allows for better power transfer to the rear wheels, and for a better exhaust flow that goes straight out the rear of the car rather than under the engine and then out.

Motorsports[edit]

Safety car[edit]

Since the beginning of the NSX's production, the car has been used as a safety car at the Suzuka Circuit, even for the Japanese Grand Prix in its early years of production, and is still used at the circuit. The car is also used for the same role at Twin Ring Motegi, the other circuit owned by Honda.

24 Hours of Le Mans[edit]

The 1995 class-winner "Team Kunimitsu" NSX-GT2

The NSX made three appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1994, 1995, and 1996.

Three Honda NSXs were entered in the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans. Cars numbers 46, 47 and 48 were prepared and run by team Kremer Racing Honda, with Team Kunimitsu assisting and driving the number 47 car. All were in the GT2 class, and all completed the race, but placed 14th, 16th and 18th.[34]

Three Honda NSXs were entered in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. Honda's factory team brought two turbocharged NSXs which were entered in the GT1 class numbered 46 and 47. Team Kunimitsu Honda prepared and entered a naturally aspirated NSX into the GT2 class numbered 84. Car 46 finished but was not classified for failing to complete 70% of the distance of the race winner. Car 47 did not finish due to clutch and gearbox failure. Car 84, driven by Keiichi Tsuchiya, Akira Iida, and Kunimitsu Takahashi, finished first in the GT2 class and 8th overall after completing 275 laps. This NSX was featured in the original Gran Turismo.[35]

For the 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans, only the Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX returned with the same drivers. It completed 305 laps to finish in the 16th position overall, and third in the GT2 class.[36]

Super GT[edit]

Honda NSX GT

For use in the Super GT (formerly the JGTC), the NSX has been highly modified (as allowed by series technical regulations) with chassis development done by Dome, engine development by Mugen, for Honda.

Externally, the NSX 's shape has developed race by race, season to season to the demands of increasing aerodynamic downforce within the regulations. The most notable change is the position of the V6 engine, which is mounted longitudinally instead of transversely as per the road car. Similar to the setup used in modern Lamborghinis, the gearbox is located in the center tunnel under the cockpit and is connected to the rear differential by a driveshaft. Engines can either be turbocharged or naturally aspirated, depending on the class and on the rules.

Prior to rule changes beginning in the 2003 season, the Super GT/GT500 NSX was powered by a specially modified version of the C32B V6 engine. Using a stroker crankshaft from Toda Racing, the naturally aspirated engine displaced 3.5-litres and produced nearly 500 hp (373 kW; 507 PS). Beginning in 2003, Honda substituted a highly modified C30A engine, augmented by a turbocharger, which also produces up to 500 bhp.

The NSX continued to be used as the works Honda car in the GT500 class, even though it is no longer in production, until it was replaced in 2010 with the HSV-010. New 2014 regulations however will render the HSV-010 obsolete; Honda's 2014-spec GT500 car is to be based on the 2015 NSX, followed with a Group GT3 version from 2017 onwards.

NSX competition car during Super GT competition

Cars were entered by Raybrig and ARTA in the 2005 Super GT season, Castrol Mugen Motorsports in 2000, Loctite in 2001 and Epson in the 2007 Super GT season.

Honda NSX Super GT specifications[edit]

Year 2009 final specification

  • Chassis: Carbon fibre reinforced aluminium frame, steel Roll cage, JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) approval.
  • Engine: Custom-built Honda engine, water-cooled V6 Normally aspirated (Longitudial-mounted), 3.494 litres, DOHC, 4-valves per cylinder.
  • Speed: 191 mph (307 km/h)
  • Fuel: Unleaded 100 RON gasoline.
  • Lubrication: Mobil 1, Castrol, MOTUL, Elf.
  • Fuel delivery: Fuel injection.
  • Wheelbase: 2,530 mm.

World Challenge[edit]

The NSX was entered in the SCCA World Challenge prior to the redesign in 2002.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2002 Acura NSX Specs". JB car pages.
  2. ^ "Honda HP-X". History and Models – Pininfarina Models. Pininfarina. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  3. ^ a b "Autofile Honda NSX: Supercar choice of Superman Senna". Auto Express. Auto Express (124). February 12–18, 1991.
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