On June 25, dozens upon dozens of gigantic wings with engines attached to them will set off to conquer one of the country’s most famous mountains at the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Following last year’s impressive trio of NSX hill-climb entrants (one of which was a modified four-motor EV), Acura will play a large role in the event for the sixth straight year. Acura will have two modified 2018 TLXs, including a turbocharged 500-hp A-Spec, as well as a tuned .
Making its racing debut in the Exhibition class and sporting bright blue wheels is a modified version of the recently launched A-Spec. Taking lessons learned from the TLX GT racing program, the kitted-out TLX uses revised rods, pistons, camshafts, and an altered valvetrain. The new parts, as well as special engine software and in-house tuning, draw a claimed 500 horsepower from the turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6. The car also was stripped of any luxury accoutrements, given a carbon-fiber splitter and large rear wing, and fitted with a limited-slip differential. Nick Robinson, who drove the NSX in the Time Attack 2 Production class last year, will be behind the wheel of this beast.
Last year, the NSX was modified to show off the capability of an all-electric racer. This year’s entrant is inspired by the GT3 class, according to Acura. Competing in Time Attack 1 and piloted by James Robinson, Nick’s brother, the NSX drops weight for the race and adds aerodynamic bits and R-compound tires. The engine software also has been specially tuned to better prepare the hybrid system for the taxing task of climbing 14,115 feet.
Acura’s third car, competing in the Pikes Peak Open class, is a version of the all-wheel-drive TLX GT and similar to the car previously run in the Pirelli World Challenge. Like the other hill-climb cars, the GT’s twin-turbo V-6 has been remapped to handle elevation changes. Honda Performance Development tuned it for improved turbo operation with different boost pressures to deal with the lower levels of oxygen. It’s like platelet doping, but legal. Additional changes included revised transmission gearing for improved low-end torque, a tighter suspension, and again, lots more wing. Peter Cunningham of RealTime Racing (no connection to Bill Maher) is in the captain’s chair in the GT.
Among the most interesting production-based entrants in the event are a (supposedly), a 1973 Porsche 911 RSR, a 1983 Audi A1 Quattro, and a 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Acura is also the official pace-car sponsor for the event and will run production-spec TLX A-Spec models to lead the pack.