RealTime to race new Acura TLX in 2014 season (VIDEO)

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Seven-time Pirelli World Challenge champion Peter Cunningham and his RealTime Racing squad are set to go for this year’s GT championship in the new Acura TLX GT.

The announcement was made as part of today’s unveiling of the 2015 TLX Prototype at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (skip to 14:00 in the video above to see the reveal of the RealTime TLX GT).

Last year, RealTime competed in the series’ GTS category, with Cunningham and teammate Nick Esayian finishing fifth and eighth respectively in the drivers’ championship while racing the Acura TSX.

Acura itself finished third in the class manufacturers’ race behind Chevrolet and Kia, but is now focusing in on GT for the first time since 2002, when RealTime ran an Acura NSX.

Team-wise, RealTime has six years of GT experience, with one championship for Cunningham in 1997 and a pair of runner-up finishes in 2001 and 2002.

“The Pirelli World Challenge GT class is at its pinnacle of competitiveness right now, but the Acura TLX is up to the task,” Cunningham said in a statement. “In 27 years of racing Hondas and Acuras, we’ve shown that we know what it takes to win.

“We won Acura’s first Manufacturers’ Championship in 1998 with the Integra Type R, and most recently, its 10th title in 2012 with the TSX. Our team is dedicated to continuing this winning tradition with the TLX.”

RealTime’s new machine will feature a chassis from Honda Performance Development with enhanced aerodynamic performance parts, as well as a twin-turbo V6 engine developed from the TLX production model. And like that production model, the TLX GT will also have all-wheel drive at its disposal.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”