Acura is entering four production-based race cars into this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the manufacturer announced.
The recently launched Integra Type S will make its motorsports debut in the 101st running of the “Race to the Clouds” alongside three additional race entries including an NSX Type S racecar modified specifically for the hill climb with advanced active aerodynamics. Additionally, IndyCar driver David Malukas will serve as the event’s official pace car driver in a 2023 TLX Type S PMC Edition.
All Acura race team entries are prepped and crewed by a volunteer team of engineers out of the company’s R&D facilities in Ohio, the company said. It is the performance brand’s 13th consecutive year competing at Pikes Peak, with the Acura team amassing 12 first place in-division finishes, 26 podiums and multiple records in its history.
Marking the motorsports debut of the new high-performance variant, Acura is bringing its first race-prepped 2024 Integra Type S to Pikes Peak. The HPD Integra Type S race car will compete in the Exhibition division driven by fourth generation racer, Loni Unser, while Acura engineer Paul Hubers returns for his second year on the mountain behind the wheel of an Integra 1.5T built by the Honda of America Racing Team (HART). Fellow Acura engineer and Pikes Peak veteran Jordan Guitar also returns to Pikes Peak driving a TLX Type S, also built by HART.
Unser’s HPD Integra Type S race car will wear a unique anime-style wrap, Acura said. Unser is a fourth-generation race car driver, following her father Johnny, who raced at the Indianapolis 500, with the Unser family (Al, Bobby and Al, Jr.) winning nine Indy 500 championships.
Designed, developed and built explicitly for maximum aerodynamic performance on the high-speed mountain course, the Acura NSX Type S Active Aero Study is the next project (after the Honda CR-V “Beast”) of Crazy New, a skunkworks division of HART, which consists of Honda associates across North America, the company said.
“The HART program embodies the Honda ‘Racing Spirit’ by providing associates with invaluable experience through motorsports, while transferring vehicle performance learnings into the development and manufacturing of next-generation Honda and Acura products,” said Aaron Kerestan, Honda Principal Engineer and Team Leader for Crazy New. “Crazy New takes that to the next level with a focus on bigger, forward-thinking ideas and more extreme builds, like the Acura NSX Type S Active Aero Study.”
Nicknamed “Yamabiko” (a mythological mountain god or spirit in Japanese folklore) during development, the Acura NSX Type S Active Aero Study features custom carbon fiber bodywork that is designed to improve the car’s ability to maintain downforce and reduce drag. Shaped inside the new Honda Automotive Laboratories of Ohio (HALO) facility, the NSX’s design incorporates active aero technology, including a dynamic rear wing, which acts as a drag reduction system (DRS) to increase speed on faster sections of the track. To help slow the hybrid-powered supercar under heavy braking, the electrically actuated rear spoiler deploys as an air brake, increasing drag and improving balance.
The Acura NSX Type S Active Aero Study will be driven by Honda engineer and experienced Pikes Peak racer James Robinson, who drove an NSX to the current Hybrid fuel class record (10:01.913) in 2020. “We created the Acura NSX Type S Active Aero Study, aka ‘Yamabiko’, to improve our own Pikes Peak record,” said Robinson. “It’s by far the most extreme machine the Acura Race Team has ever raced to the clouds.”