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Acura wins IMSA title using same engine tech that’s on dealership lots

The Acura NSX is built for the road and Acura NSX GT-3 is made for the track, but they share many vital components.

Photo courtesy of Acura

As the checkered flag waived over Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta last week, Acura took five five titles in the International Motorsports Racing Association (IMSA) sports car competition series. Unlike cars in Formula 1 and NASCAR racing, which mostly utilize specialty parts, Acura took the titles using variants of same six-cylinder engine that is available in most of its vehicles that are currently for sale at dealership lots nationwide.

In the GTD division, Meyer Shank Racing claimed the Drivers' and Teams' Championships with the Acura NSX GT-3 Evo. It shares 80 percent of its parts with the traditional NSX and is powered by the same mid-mounted twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6, in basic terms.

2019 Acura NSX GT-3 The NSX GT-3 race car shares 80 percent of its parts with the traditional NSX.Photo courtesy of Acura

Though there are many different engines in Acura's lineup, at its heart is the 3.5-liter V6. The engine has been through many different forms as part of the automaker's standard and available powertrain options since 1996 when the J-Series of engines was introduced to replace the C-Series. It's been in sales winners such as the Acura RDX and some losers including the Acura ZDX.

Honda's Anna Engine Plant, in Ohio, has crafted the GT-3 Evo's engine using the same design specification as the current road version of the NSX, including the block, heads, valve train, crankshafts, pistons and dry-sump lubrication system.

Unlike its road-worthy counterpart, the model is limited to rear-wheel drive (the road car is all-wheel drive) and isn't a hybrid, per IMSA requirements.

Acura NSX GT-3 Evo

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura introduced the NSX GT-3 Evo for the 2019 IMSA racing season.


Its chassis originates at the Honda Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio (same as the NSX road car) and final assembly is completed by JAS Motorsport in Milan, Italy.

It is 1,000 pounds lighter and has 500 percent more downforce thanks to its Evo body kit. A video released this summer shows the NSX and NSX GT-3 Evo racing around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where the GT-3 Evo won by just about nine seconds.

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The new supercar is part throwback, part modern marvel.

Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

Think of the common script for the modern supercar. Among other things, they must be reasonably uncomfortable to sit in, pass the effects of every bump in the road on to the driver, and have anxiety-inducing levels of torque that make it a chore to drive in traffic. The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 has been designed to flip that script.

The limited edition model - just 100 will be made - promises to be the “most driver-centric supercar to be built”. It will still have a high-revving engine, lightweight and aerodynamic design, and dihedral doors like the typical supercar, but it will also be so much more.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 The supercar has a carbon fiber body and chassis.Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

”Just 100 customers will share my vision, a car created to improve on the F1 formula in every conceivable way,” said Murray. “With 30 years of technological and systems advancement, now, the time is right to design the greatest analogue driver's car. I believe no other company could deliver what we will bring to market in 2022, producing this British supercar will be my proudest moment."

The car gets its name from company namesake Professor Gordon Murray. It is the 50th model, either road or track, that Murray has designed over his 50-year career.

Murray has designed the car to be free of wings, skirts, and vents. It’s look is clean, if not a bit streamlined, showing restraint that doesn't encumber performance. There is a cold-air ram induction that sits directly above the driver’s head.

The car weighs just 986kg (2,173 pounds), around one-third less than the traditional supercar. It’s body panels and chassis are made of carbon fiber. A carbon tub monocoque provides stiffness and torsional rigidity. The car’s glazing is 28 percent thinner than typical glass delivering valuable weight savings.

A rear-mounted 400mm fan helps the model achieve the “most effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car”. It works in tandem with active rear spoilers and diffusers to increase downforce by up to 100 percent, depending on drive mode. The car has six available aero modes: Auto, High Downforce, Streamline (creates a virtual longtail), Braking, Test, V-Max Boost (raises output of engine).

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50

Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automtoive

The road car bit is important. Murray has designed the model to be equally as good there as on the track - a unique balance for a supercar. The model was created to be “alive” at traditional road speeds, not just high-rev track days.

The visceral experience of driving takes center stage with the car’s electronic stability protection and traction control able to be completely turned off.

At the heart of the car is a bespoke 3.9-liter V12 engine that revs to 12,100rpm. The engine is paired with a bespoke lightweight Xtrac six-speed manual transmission with an “H’ gearchange motion and regulated by a feather-light titanium pedal. Each element is crafted by a British company.

In fact, all major components are British-sourced and the model is assembled in the U.K.

The engine isn't designed to hit speed or power targets, but rather deliver the best experience for the driver. It’s the most dense naturally aspirated road car engine ever as well as the most responsive. The V12 delivers 592 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque.

According to a press release from the company, “Murray detests carbon or plastic engine covers so, upon raising the twin gullwing openings that span the rear half of the car, the Cosworth GMA V12 engine sits proudly on display with its cam covers, primary exhaust manifolds and inlet trumpets all taking centre stage.”

Murray has given the car a Direct Path Induction Sound, the system pioneered in the McLaren F1, to channel the sound of the throttle-induced induction growl into the cabin. The car’s carbon fiber roof panels act as an amplifier.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 The model’s interior blends old and newPhoto courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

Inside, the model has a central, jet fighter-like driving position. It's buttons and knobs are also inspired by flight and feature aerospace-grade primary and secondary controls arranged in an "ergonomic bubble" around the driver. They're analog, a refreshing change from the gas at screens and animated displays in everything from supercars to SUVs.

There's a premium audio system that features 10 speakers and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth connectivity.

There is enough seating for three adults and the company assures that ingress and egress are easy. All this in a model with about the same footprint as a Porsche Boxster.

The price tag is a hefty £2.36 million (before taxes) - that's over $3 million USD.

As part of the buying process, each T.50 customer has the opportunity to meet Murray to discuss their car and personalize it inside and out. Part of this process includes a seat, steering wheel, and pedals fitting session that will ensure the T.50 is ergonomically perfect for each client.

Customer versions of the T.50 will be built beginning in January 2022.

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The Nissan Maxima is one of the cheapest cars to insure in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

ValuePenguin, which is owned by Lending Tree, has surveyed the vehicle landscape, finding the top five vehicles with the cheapest car insurance rates.

To determine the winners in this survey, ValuePenguin investigated the relationship between car insurance costs and safety, specifically looking at driver fatalities per million registered vehicles according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The analysis determined that "vehicles associated with fewer fatal accidents tended to have lower car insurance costs. Conversely, cars associated with higher rates of fatal accidents saw more expensive car insurance rates."

Many of the vehicles listed earned a top IHS Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2020.

No. 5 - Subaru Legacy

2020 Subaru Legacy Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

The Subaru Legacy was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It now features a powerful engine, engaging drive dynamics, and high-tech infotainment and safety features. Subaru equips the model with standard all-wheel drive.

No. 4 - Volkswagen Golf GTI

2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen Golf GTI has been refined for 2020. It is now available in three trims—S, SE, and Autobahn - and VW has given the model additional standard safety technology. The Golf GTI is one of the few models still available with a manual transmission. The company recently revealed the next generation of the Golf GTI for 2021.

No. 3 - Nissan Maxima

2020 Nissan Maxima Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

​The Nissan Maxima doesn't compete against many other large sedans these days, but it still puts up a good fight giving buyers plenty of reason to explore the segment. The 2020 Nissan Maxima is relatively the same as the 2019 model. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is now standard on the car, adding automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking to every Maxima model.

No. 2 - Acura ILX

2020 Acura ILX Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The ILX is the entry point into the Acura brand and, despite not being the newest model in the company's portfolio, it's still attracting plenty of buyers. How long the ILX name will be around is up in the air. A recently leaked dealer slideshow discussed a new compact car coming soon. but did not explicitly call it the ILX name.

No. 1 - Nissan Leaf

2020 Nissan Leaf

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular electric vehicles the world. It's available in two battery grades that offer up to 226 miles of range. The popularity of the Leaf has made it one of the best-known EVs in the world. Recently, the company released the "Nissan EV Driver Etiquette" guide.

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