Race plans for the new Acura NSX continue to formulate, with a final decision on the GT platform for the mid-engined sports car set to be made in the coming weeks.
Speaking to Sportscar365, Honda Performance Development Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Eriksen said they’re evaluating the GT3 or GTE platform for the car, which is targeted to launch for the 2017 season.
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Eriksen told Sportscar365. “It was one of the reasons I was at [Road America], to try and get a sense of what the options are and how well those options fit with American Honda’s plans of promoting the car.”
Eriksen said if they go the GT3 route, the NSX could serve as the replacement to the all-wheel-drive Acura TLX-GT, which is currently on the second of a two-year agreement to race in Pirelli World Challenge.
With PWC moving fully to FIA GT3 homologated cars for its GT class in 2016, Eriksen admitted a lot of work would be required to transform the TLX-GT to GT3 spec.
“We’re looking at our options and one of them is to go two-wheel drive,” he said. “It’s just how big of a tear up is it? You could disconnect your front-wheel drive but is that really going to make a good race car?
“That’s the question we’re looking at right now. We need it to be competitive because otherwise, why be there?”
Wherever the NSX races, it will unlikely be with its production hybrid system.
“I think the reality is that the series aren’t ready for that yet, and I’m not sure the teams are, either,” Eriksen said. “That adds a level of complication.
“We certainly raced hybrids before in Japan. The CRZ raced as a hybrid, the Super GTs have been outfitted as hybrids at times. We know what to do but it doesn’t seem like the other manufacturers are ready for that yet.
“Just like Audi can’t run their quattro, you have to run what the rules dictate you run, even though it may not suit your marketing as well as you’d like.”
It’s unclear whether California-based HPD would be charged with the build of the NSX or another entity, potentially in Europe.
Longtime Honda partner Jas Motorsport, which currently spearheads its World Touring Car Championship program, has been rumored as potentially being involved in the project in some capacity.
While HPD’s future involvement in the prototype ranks remains uncertain, Eriksen admitted the importance of securing a long-term presence in the U.S. sports car racing scene.
“Certainly America is likely to be the biggest market for the [NSX], so it makes sense to race it here,” he said.
“We’re still trying to understand what specific series suits us best. Based on the rules, we have to work backwards to see how much time we need to prepare.”
Eriksen has ruled out seeing the NSX compete next year, due to the time frame required to build and develop the car.