Following the return of Honda to European GT racing in 2018, this weekend sees two teams return to the grid of the gruelling 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps in the 2019 NSX GT3 EVO. Honda Team Motul will contest the third round of the Pirelli Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), while Jenson Team Rocket RJN will enter the Blancpain GT series endurance cup silver category.

Following the Laguna Seca round of the IGTC in March, Honda sister brand Acura pitted the road-going NSX against the NSX GT3 Evo. In a series of track-based tests, IMSA GT race Trent Hindman pits the two cars against each other to demonstrate their distinctive approach to performance.

 

Built for speed

 GT competition standards require race cars to maintain much of the same exterior character of their production counterparts. While the two cars use different materials for their bodywork (the road car aluminium and composite, the GT3 EVO carbon fibre), they share more than 80-percent of underlying component parts. This commonality highlights that racing was an essential part of the development team’s thinking from the outset.

 

A tale of two power units

 Dig beneath the surface and the major difference, quite apart from the obvious aerodynamic modifications on the NSX GT3 Evo, are the powertrains. The road car combines a bespoke 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 and the world’s only 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) with a three-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® system, working in concert to produce 581 ps and 646 Nm of torque.

By contrast, the NSX GT3 EVO, in keeping with the rear-drive-only requirement of GT3 competition, removes the production model’s hybrid componentry. Relying solely on a lightly modified version of the production model’s 3.5-litre twin turbocharged V6 engine to produce 557 ps and 644 Nm of torque. However the electrified nature of the road car results in a car that achieves 0-60mph 1.43 seconds faster than the GT3 EVO, despite carrying the extra weight of safety and comfort features expected in a road car.

Unlike other hybrid supercars, not only is electric power used to smooth the torque curve of a turbocharged engine, the road-going NSX’s front-mounted Twin Motor Unit (TMU) can deliver both positive and negative torque independently to the front wheels. In this respect, the production NSX stands alone amongst supercars past and present as the only vehicle to use electric motors to enhance every element of dynamic performance – acceleration, braking and cornering.

Watch the video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJkR2tIODko

 

Production Honda NSX vs. NSX GT3 EVO – key specifications

 

Specs Honda NSX 2019 NSX GT3 Evo
Starting MSRP £143,950 €465,000[1]
Engine Twin Turbo 3.5 Litre 75° V6 ß
Transmission 9-Speed DCT 6-Speed Sequential
Electric Motors 3
Drivetrain SH-AWD® RWD
Total System ps / Torque (Nm) 581 / 646 557 / 644
Est. Acceleration 0-60mph 2.92 secs 4.35 secs
Body Structure Aluminium Intensive Multi Material ß
Race Ready Roll Cage 25CrMo TIG Welded
Exterior Body Panels Aluminium and Composite Carbon Fibre
Brakes

Brembo Steel Discs

FR: 368 mm / RR: 361 mm

Optional: Brembo Carbon Ceramic

FR: 381 mm / RR: 361 mm

Brembo Steel Discs

FR: 390 mm / RR: 355 mm

Wheels

Forged Aluminum

FR: 19” x 8.5” /  RR: 20” x 11”

Centre Locking, Forged Aluminum

FR: 18” x 12” /  RR: 18” x 13”

Tires

Continental Sport Contact 6

FR: 245/35-19 / RR: 305/30-20

Optional: Pirelli Trofeo R

Brand varies with Race Series

FR: 315/46-18 / RR: 325/48-18

Wheelbase 2,630 mm ß
Overall Length 4,470 mm 4,612 mm
Overall Width 2,217 mm (w/ mirrors) 2,040 mm (w/o mirrors)
Front Track 1,655 mm 1,715 mm
Rear Track 1,618 mm 1,687 mm
Weight 1,759 kg 1,240 kg

[1] JAS Motorsport

Face-off: NSX v NSX Evo GT3