How much do you know about the NSX GT3 Racer?
This year’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona was marked by lots of rain and unusually cold weather. But there was also a new player in the game: the Acura NSX GT3, which debuted under the Michael Shank Racing team. Two NSXs raced around the Daytona International Speedway (#93 and #86) in the first competition of the year. We spent the weekend with Acura in Florida, where we learned a few fun facts about the new race car.
Everything started this summer
Although the car was shown at last year’s New York Auto Show, Michael Shank, owner of Michael Shank Racing, said his team started testing car mules last summer. After making improvements, the cars were shipped to France in November because they needed to be approved by the FIA to race internationally. Once cars receive the thumbs up from the FIA, no more changes can be made. Shank mentioned his team didn’t have much time with the car, and because this was the first time the NSX GT3 participated in this type of racing, every minute of testing was crucial.
It’s about 60 percent production
During a walk-around of the car, Shank said that the NSX GT3 is about 60 percent of what the NSX street car is. The majority of the changes occurred in the suspension and body to improve its aerodynamics, but by racing under the GTD category, the tires can only be Continental, and the top speed is limited to 180 mph (290km/h).
Same engine, no AWD
The NSX GT3’s 3.5-liter engine has the same design specs as the production NSX, including the block, heads, valve train, crankshaft, pistons, and dry-sump lubrication system. But unlike the production-spec NSX, the race car uses a six-speed sequential-shift gearbox that delivers power to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive is not permitted in the GTD class.
Completing the race was the number one priority
Because this was the first race for the NSX GT3, the top priority was completing the endurance race. After starting the race in seventh and ninth, the No. 86 car completed the competition in fifth place, but the No. 93 car was forced to retire with 30 minutes remaining due to damage sustained on its front body. (No. 93 actually raced without a hood for a while.)
“Finishing the race was a huge target, so to finish fifth and having led a lot of the race in the rain was really incredible,” said Jeff Segal, one of the drivers of the No. 86 car.
Katherine Legge and the No. 93 Car
Katherine Legge raced in the NSX GT3 No. 93 in Daytona. She was the first female to lead the Rolex 24 overall last year, and the first female to lead an American Le Mans Series Race at Road America in 2013. The British-born pro-driver is a two-time Indianapolis 500 starter. The rest of the driving team in the No. 93 car included Andy Lally, Graham Rahal, and Mark Wilkins.
Each NSX GT3 is about $500,000 USD
Shank said each race car is worth about $500,000 USD. That’s more than twice the cost of the most equipped variant of the production car, which can crest $200,000 USD with options.
$30,000 USD for a steering wheel
Shank also mentioned that the cost of the steering wheel is around $30,000 USD. The carbon-fiber steering wheel has 15 buttons on its front, and on the back there’s a clutch paddle that’s part of the six-speed sequential-shift gearbox.