Honda will campaign an all-electric, NSX-inspired EV Concept in the Electric Modified Class at the 2016 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The EV Concept features a further evolution of the experimental, all-electric, 4-motor Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertrain that won last year’s Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class.
The concept will be piloted by Tetsuya Yamano, who campaigned last year’s CR-Z-based electric prototype to its class win. However the difference in 2016 is the powertrain produces three times the total system output of last year’s electric prototype and is mated to the NSX body.
“We’ve been tuning the car for several weeks at Pikes and have advanced its performance significantly,” said Tetsuya Yamano. “We’re honored to be running at Pikes in this historical, anniversary year – an event respected by racing fans all over the world.”
Honda R&D has been developing “super handling” technology for more than 20 years in the pursuit of what they say is ideal vehicle handling. By applying separate Twin Motor Units (TMUs), the brains of the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system, on each axle, Acura has achieved independent torque distribution to all four corners – true four-wheel torque vectoring. Based upon the learnings from last year’s race, the team has updated the system management of the powertrain for more precise thrust at each wheel.
Acura will also field a pair of 2017 Acura NSX supercars in the 100th Anniversary of the running of the Hill Climb as well as the EV Concept. The two Acura NSX supercars will compete in the Time Attack 1 and 2 classes and will be piloted by brothers James and Nick Robinson, respectively, both from the company’s North American engineering team.
“Pikes Peak is like no other race in the world and offers a unique opportunity to showcase the power and performance of our products,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of the Acura Division. “We are excited for this year’s ‘Race to the Clouds’ to test the endurance and engineering of the Acura NSX and our advanced powertrain technologies – as well as an expression of our racing spirit.”
A team of North American R&D engineers has been working on both NSX entries, which feature the same three-motor Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive powertrain (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD) as the production NSX. This powertrain features a twin-turbo V6 engine mated to a 9-speed dual clutch transmission and Rear Direct Drive Motor, and a front Twin Motor Unit with a world’s first electrically powered torque vectoring capability in the supercar realm. Modifications to the NSX competing in the Time Attack 1 class included chassis lightening and a custom high-flow racing exhaust.
The NSX competing in the Time Attack 2 class is a production car with the required safety equipment for competition. The Time Attack 1 NSX will be driven by James Robinson of the company’s North American powertrain development group, who drove a first-generation NSX in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb from 2012 to 2015. His brother Nick Robinson, an engineer in charge of the new NSX’s dynamic performance during its development, will drive the Time Attack 2 NSX. Nick is also the reigning PP250 winner from the 2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.