Honda Racing’s first season in the Intercontinental GT Challenge with the NSX GT3 Evo begins with what’s sure to be an action-packed California 8 Hours this Saturday at the iconic Laguna Seca Raceway.
Carrying the Acura Motorsports badge in the USA with an all-star driver line-up of Bertrand Baguette, Mario Farnbacher and Renger van der Zande, a strong performance is the target for the team.
The NSX GT3 has a superb record at the undulating 3.6km Laguna Seca Raceway, which is situated close to the Pacific coast town of Monterey, around 100km south of San Francisco.
The car claimed a brilliant GTD pole position and victory in last year’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race there, while its first appearance at the track – at the 2017 California 8 Hours – netted fourth place.
Equipped with the latest evolution of the car, which features improved aerodynamics, throttle response, driveability and fuel economy, Bertrand, Mario and Renger are ready to compete as part of an ultra-strong 20-car field.
Mario, who races the NSX GT3 Evo in IMSA on a full-time basis this year, was victorious in the GTD class at Laguna in 2016 while Bertrand – whose main programme is with Honda in Super GT – races there for the first time.
Dutchman Renger has won twice at the circuit in major US sportscar competition; in the American Le Mans Series in 2014 and then in IMSA in 2017 after taking the lead at the infamous Corkscrew with an overtaking move that has become legendary.
The Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) groups together the world’s most-prestigious GT3 races into a five-event competition for manufacturers across five continents.
The California 8 Hours follows February’s Bathurst 12 Hours as the second event of the 2019 calendar.
Still to come are the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in July, Honda’s home race – the Suzuka 10 Hours – in August and finally the Kyalami 9 Hours in South Africa in November.