Race-Prepped Acura TLX to Debut at Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Aug 3, 2020

The 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will mark the official racing debut of the redesigned 2021 Acura TLX, the automaker announced.

Acura will compete in the 98th running of the “Race to the Clouds” on Aug. 30 with two race prepared second generation TLXs powered by modified versions of the production 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, along with a “Time Attack” NSX supercar. Pacing the race to the 14,115-foot summit will be a development prototype of the TLX Type S, ahead of its market introduction next spring.

The TLX Type S Pace Car, an early development prototype used for circuit testing, will be driven by Nick Robinson, a principal engineer in the company’s Chassis Development Group. The prototype TLX Type S is undergoing final development tuning before it is set to arrive in market next spring. Powering the TLX Type S is Acura’s new 3.0-liter V6 Turbo engine, expected to produce 355 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque, and distributing power to all four wheels via Acura’s fourth-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). Additionally, the TLX Type S Pace Car has been equipped with the optional lightweight Y-Spoke wheels, inspired by the NSX’s own, and several safety modifications including a roll-cage and fire suppression system.

A Pikes Peak veteran himself, Robinson established a new front-wheel-drive record for Pikes Peak in 2018 with an Acura TLX and achieved a Time Attack 2 Class Win with a second-gen NSX in 2016. The year prior, he won the PP250 class on a Honda motorcycle. In addition, Nick Robinson serves as a driving safety expert and helps mentor new drivers throughout their careers at Honda R&D Americas.

Both of the 2021 TLX race cars will compete in the Exhibition Class, with multiple modifications in preparation for the hill climb. The TLX’s standard 2.0-liter turbocharged engine has been race-tuned with a larger turbo and intercooler for increased power. Stopping performance from the electro-servo braking system is improved with 4-piston Brembo front calipers and rotors from the TLX Type S, along with high-performance racing pads. A more aggressive suspension set up is applied, as well as unique tuning for the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. Lightweight 19-inch HRE wheels with Pirelli racing tires complete the TLX’s race preparation. Jordan Guitar, a member of the company’s Chassis Development Group, will drive the vehicle.

The second TLX entered into the Exhibition Class will be driven by Justin Lumbard – team manager of Acura’s Pikes Peak efforts. Lumbard’s TLX benefits from a higher-output tune for the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a more aggressive set up for the TLX’s double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension. Rounding out the race-ready modifications are high performance brake pads, lightweight 18-inch HRE wheels and Pirelli racing tires.

Returning to the Peak for the third consecutive year is the “Time Attack” NSX driven by James Robinson. A 10-time Pikes Peak veteran, Robinson’s past successes in the “Race to the Clouds” include a hybrid production car record set with NSX in 2018 (10:02.448) as well as podium finishes in the Exhibition, Open and Time Attack 1 classes.

The “Time Attack” NSX features improved aero by way of a larger rear wing and aggressive front splitter. Larger turbochargers and enhanced engine management software increases total system output to around 625 horsepower. Various weight reduction measures, including a stripped interior, reduce the “Time Attack” NSX’s weight more than 200 lbs. Finally, lightweight HRE forged wheels are wrapped in high-grip Pirelli R-compound tires.