LEXINGTON, Ohio – This weekend’s been an important one for Acura and Honda, with the new Acura NSX GT3 turning its first public laps during Thursday’s Pirelli World Challenge test session, although plans for it to run in practice on Friday were scrubbed owing to heavy rains that canceled the session.
Inevitably though while the public debut is nice, the next steps for the NSX GT3 are determining – officially – the series in which it will compete and the teams with which will campaign it across the global spectrum of sports car racing.
Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr and NSX project leader Lee Niffenegger outlined more details about the NSX today in a brief media availability.
“We have some further private tests planned coming up in the next few weeks. We have FIA homologation testing coming up in September (at Ledoux in France) that’s a fixed week every year,” Niffenegger said. “So between now and then we have several different types of tests as well as on‑track tests.”
Niffenegger expanded a bit on the homologation process.
“Homologation, for those of you not familiar, there’s a dynamic test where they measure downforce, horsepower. Basically they set the basic vehicle parameters,” he explained.
“But there also can be a long process of documentation and inspection that takes place. Even though you go to a test in September, it can be one, two, three months, depending on what the FIA is looking for as far as documentation, any things they want you to change on the car for safety, could be anything.”
While the car is anticipated to run in both of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge, St. Cyr declined to confirm either of those details today.
“We don’t have a specific timeframe when we’re going to do that,” St. Cyr said. “Obviously we’re evaluating the different series it’s legal to run this car in.
“As I mentioned before, there’s a lot of interest in running this car. We’re evaluating that. It’s pretty much an independent schedule for homologation. We will decide the teams. We want to get them as soon as possible, right, to start testing the car and start running the car.
“Pretty much as soon as possible for us is when we want to start announcing our teams on that. But I don’t have a solid date for that.
“We don’t have a fixed deadline, By this date we’re going to have a team. When we’ve checked all the boxes, that’s when we’ll announce the teams.”
Niffenegger added, “I don’t think it’s necessarily involved with homologation.”
Michael Shank Racing has been rumored as a possible team to campaign the NSX GT3, and Shank, who’s a Columbus local and whose shop is based in nearby Pataskala, Ohio, has been on site this weekend to survey and view the car.
RealTime Racing has housed the test NSX GT3 this weekend and while it would seem to be a strong candidate to race the car next year, it has not been formally confirmed.
Testing has occurred for the car at at least four U.S. circuits besides Mid-Ohio but this weekend marked its formal public debut. No further public tests are planned for the rest of this year, but they haven’t been ruled out entirely.