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Country of origin:Japan
Introduced in:2010
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 18, 2010
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAlthough production of the road car ceased in 2005, the NSX served Honda very well in the highly competitive SuperGT championship for four more seasons. With no NSX replacement or another suitable road car available, Honda really had no other choice. When the development proposed front-engined NSX successor was terminated at the end of 2008, Honda's future in SuperGT seemed at jeopardy. The Japanese manufacturer has worked around the problem by turning the stillborn NSX replacement into an all-new SuperGT racer, dubbed the HSV-010 GT.

Launched at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept served a first preview of the proposed NSX replacement. What stood out immediately was the location of the engine, which had moved from the behind to ahead of the cockpit. The accompanying literature explained that the car was powered by a V10 engine and used all sorts of exotic materials throughout. Honda's withdrawal from Formula 1 in December of 2008 prompted a dramatic change in philosophy. All exuberant projects were abandoned in favour of smaller, greener vehicles. One of the big victims was the Honda/Acura ASC.

A few months before the plug was pulled, a prototype had already been spotted testing around the Nürburgring, so development was well under way. Enough work had been done to enable Honda to convince the SuperGT's governing body to homologate the car even though no actual production car existed. With the series' relatively open regulations, all that Honda really needed for the new racer was the core structure of the chassis. Fore and aft of the cockpit's firewalls, all GT500 class machines feature purpose built tubular subframes to house the suspension, gearbox and engine. The 'silhouette' bodies also have little in common with the road cars they are styled after.

To power the HSV (Honda Sports Velocity) racer, Honda picked the V8 engine used so successfully in the Acura LMP2 prototypes. Displacing just under 3.4 litre, it meets the size restrictions for non-homologated engines perfectly. The high-revving, quad-cam unit produces in excess of 500 bhp and a commendable 392 Nm of torque. This power is transferred to the rear wheels through a sequential six-speed gearbox that is operated by paddles behind the steering wheel. Purpose built double wishbone suspension with torsion bar springs is used all around. This impressive chassis is clothed in a particularly attractive carbon fibre body. A deep front splitter and big rear wing complete the package.

At the March 20 season opening round at the challenging Suzuka track, the HSV-010 GT will have the first opportunity to show if it is a worthy replacement for the legendary NSX. Opposition from Nissan and Lexus will be strong as always, so it will certainly not be easy. Hopefully success on the race track can convince Honda to rethink their decision and produce a road going version after all. A company with such an extensive racing heritage deserves a proper sports car in the line-up.

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  Article Image gallery (12) Specifications User Comments (4)