Until now, we’d only laid eyes on various 2015 Acura NSX concepts and prototypes on auto show stands or rolling in virtual reality. But, thanks to these photos, posted this morning to Acura’s social media channels, we have our first look at a 2015 NSX prototype rolling on the Mid-Ohio road course.
According to Acura’s Twitter feed, this new Acura NSX prototype will perform a public lap of the Mid-Ohio track on August 4th, just prior to the Honda Indy 200 IndyCar race. We’re not surprised to see Acura play up the NSX at this event. Not only is it a Honda-sponsored race, but it’s also held in Honda’s backyard, not far from the Raymond, Ohio engineering facility that’s presently working to develop the car, and the Marysville, Ohio facility that will ultimately build the 2015 NSX production car.
Although this latest Acura NSX prototype iteration lacks some of the details we’ve seen on prior concept, it’s clear the 2015 NSX hasn’t strayed from its original conceptual form as it advances towards production. Honda notes this latest car packages the NSX’ production-intent powertrain. A mid-mounted V-6 and an electric motor drives the rear axle through a dual-clutch gearbox, while the front wheels are powered by a pair of electric motors. By varying output of each front motor, the NSX can overdrive the outside wheel in a corner, which helps rotate the car and improves turn-in.
Despite the pseudo-race scheme and number placards, this is a prototype for the 2015 NSX road car, not a race machine. Still, there’s a good chance the road car will ultimately lead to at least a few different race-prepped models. When the initial Acura NSX concept was unveiled at the 2012 Detroit auto show, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito openly suggested the 2015 NSX could spawn a racing variant. A release issued by Honda this March focused on the automaker’s partnership with Magnetti Marelli for IndyCar powertrain components, but suggested the relationship would also extend to a Honda entry in the FIA’s World Endurance Challenge — the same series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans – and the newly combined American Le Mans / Grand-Am series by 2014. Meanwhile, a user on motorsports forum www.ten-tenths.org posted photos yesterday morning of what appears to be a 2015 NSX racer designed for Japan’s Super GT series.
Both ideas seem to gel with what Steve Eriksen, vice president of Honda Performance Development, told Speed.com in 2012, fresh off the heels of the NSX concept’s debut in Detroit.
“We’re studying the various series and seeing what would make sense,” he said. “There’s certainly regional series that have been traditional NSX venues; Honda has raced in Super GT for years and in the past been NSX-based.
“In America, there’s only a couple of sports car options, but certainly, I think Le Mans is ultimately where it makes great sense to have a car to show its prowess. But I think it all depends on where the regulations go in the future.”
For now, the 2015 Acura NSX’s only race outing will consist of a publicity lap next weekend. Tune in to NBC at 3 pm Eastern to watch at home.