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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.

McLaren has introduced a new car, its lightest to date, the Elva.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

The Elva is McLaren Automotive's new Ultimate Series roadster. It's an open-cockpit two-seater based on 1960s design with 804 horsepower. Bite your lip accordingly.

The Elva name originates with the Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A, M1B, and M1C of the 1960s, which were produced as consumer variants of the Group 7 McLaren race cars.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 front The front of the car is very McLaren with a deep nose and minimal badging.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

"McLaren continues to push the boundaries of supercar and hypercar development in pursuit of outstanding and unparalleled driving experiences for our customers, and the McLaren Elva epitomizes that pioneering spirit," said Mike Flewitt, CEO, McLaren Automotive. "The McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk1] and its successors are in many ways the true spiritual forerunners of today's McLarens – superlight, mid-engined cars with the highest levels of performance and dynamic excellence. It's fitting that the new McLaren Ultimate Series roadster – a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements and with that new heights of driving pleasure on road or track – acknowledges our rich heritage with the Elva name."

The Elva retains many of McLaren's signature exterior and interior design lines. It has a low nose with animalistic McLaren badging. There are also pronounced front fender peaks and at the rear are carbon fiber rear fenders that flow into the lines of two rear buttresses that deploy to activate a roll-over protection system.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 side tires wheels A fixed windshield can be added in some markets.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren built this car to blur lines. The automaker is touting the car's "unparalleled driver engagement" and takes the stance that the absence of a roof, windscreen, and windows ensure an "incredibly immersive and enthralling experience." Cue the lambswool-lined racing goggles. A fixed windshield is also available.

The automaker has designed the Active Air Management System to deploy when the car is traveling at moderate and high speed. The technology changes the airflow of the car to keep the cockpit calm rather than the traditional rough rumble you get when you put down a soft top.

"Our mission with the McLaren Elva was to create an open-cockpit, two-seat roadster that delivers the most elemental of driving experiences," said Rob Melville, Design Director, McLaren Automotive. "Formula 1-inspired shrink-wrapped volumes create a technical sculpture that is as striking as it is remarkable, the exterior flowing into the interior in a stunning example of a new and unique McLaren 'blurred boundaries' design principle that has allowed us to seamlessly bring the outside in to further enhance driver engagement while remaining true to our philosophy of making no compromises."

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 side tires wheels roof The roofless model is a provocative design.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It gets its power from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter McLaren V8 that is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The car gets from zero to 62 mph in under three seconds. Its zero to 124 mph time is quicker than the McLaren Senna at just 6.7 seconds.

Pushing on the accelerator brings the car to life. Its Inconel and titanium quad exhaust professes a befitting throaty growl as the engine obliges.

The car has a linked-hydraulic active suspension and electro-hydrauling steering, which delivers the heightened level of feedback performance car drivers want.

This is the lightest road car that McLaren has ever built. It features a bespoke carbon fiber chassis and body, carbon fiber seats, and sintered carbon ceramic brakes.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 back rear There is very little storage space in the Elva, but that's okay.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It rides standard on 10-spoke ultra-lightweight wheels that are shoed with Pirelli P Zero tires. Five-spoke super-lightweight forged alloy wheels and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are available. A vehicle lift system comes standard.

The interior is properly appointed with composite materials and the right amount of modern technology. The car's design makes the driver and passenger feel as if they're in a cocoon. McLaren has integrated the controls for the Active Dynamics system into the instrument cluster and equipped the car with drive mode switches near the gearshift paddles.

It does not comes standard with an audio system but customers can add a bespoke one at no additional cost. A 24-carat gold engine bay heat shield and 18-carat white gold or platinum badges with a TFT inlay are also available.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 interior cockpit cabin The interior of the Elva is finished in high-quality premium materials designed to withstand the elements.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

A six-point racing harness is available.

There is storage space below the car's rear tonneau cover, which is secured with soft-close latches.

McLaren is selling just 399 Elva models, which start at $1.69 million each. The final price of each car depends on the customer's level of personalization by McLaren Special Operations.

Customer deliveries of the McLaren Elva are scheduled to begin near the end of 2020.

Toyota showed off nine Supra models among their lineup at the annual SEMA show.

Photo courtesy of Toyota

The Toyota Supra is finally for sale at dealerships and now things are getting fun. Aftermarket outfitters have gotten ahold of customer cars and Toyota has enlisted a few to go to extremes with their new SEMA builds.

The show selection is part of Toyota's celebration of 40 years of Toyota Racing Development heritage.

"2019 has proven a momentous year for Toyota and TRD," said Ed Laukes, group vice president, Toyota Division Marketing. "The eagerly anticipated 2020 GR Supra stole the show when it debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of Toyota Racing Development. From NHRA drag racing and drifting to the NASCAR and IMSA racing series, TRD continues to push the limits of what a Toyota can do."

Here's what they showed off.

The GRudge Match: GR Supra Heritage Edition

Photo courtesy of Toyota

This is a showdown. Ed Laukes vs. Rutledge Wood. They decided to hold a build off for the 2019 SEMA Show, and they're each building a 2020 GR Supra. This friendly competition, but there's a clear cut winner. The question is, which one is it?

This model is Laukes' entry. He tasked Marty Schwerter of Motorsports Technical Center to combine elements of the MKIV Supra from the late-90s with the new 2020 GR Supra. It's tuned to produce over 500 horsepower on a stock long block.

The GRudge Match: GR Supra HyperBoost Edition

Photo courtesy of Toyota

The GR Supra HyperBoost Edition is NASCAR analyst and broadcast personality, Rutledge Wood's Grudge Match entry. Wood worked with Rick Leos of Lucky Leos 17 Motorsports to transform the model into a 750-horsepower Supra beast. It features a 20-piece carbon-fiber wide-body kit.

GR Supra Performance Line Concept

Photo courtesy of Toyota

One part Supra, one part carbon fiber, this Supra was designed by Toyota Customizing & Development. Along with the carbon fiber aerodynamic components its has 19-inch forged aluminum wheels.

​GR Supra 3000GT Concept

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Toyota Customizing & Development also created the 3000GT Concept. It's a tribute to the iconic TRD3000GT Supra body kit of the mid-90s that was released in celebration of the Supra's success in JGTC competition.

GR Supra Wasabi Concept

Photo courtesy of Toyota

This is "a Supra for the masses according to the Toyota Genuine Accessory Team that developed the model. Dubbed the Wasabi Concept, the Toyota features Brembo B-M Brakes, Öhlins suspension upgrades, Toyota forged aluminum wheels, and Five Axis aero parts.

GR Supra Racing Concept

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Before the Supra became a reality in the marketplace, this concept was shown as a hint of what the model could be. It debuted in 2018 and gave a peek at the look of what a competition model could look like.

​GR Supra GT4

Photo courtesy of Toyota

This isn't the first time that the GR Supra GT4 has been shown. It first appeared at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show in March. Developed by Gazoo Racing (that's the GR in GR Supra), the model features an FIA compliant cage, racing suspension components, Brembo racing brakes, OZ Racing wheels and a number of motorsports components.

​NASCAR Xfinity Supra

Photo courtesy of Toyota

This Supra was built for Toytoa development driver Christopher Bell, who is racing the No. 20 Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing this year. He's currently atop the driver standings.

​GR Supra Pace Car

\u200bGR Supra Pace Car

Photo courtesy of Toyota

The Supra is competing in NASCAR for the first time this year, which gave Toyota the idea to make a pace car variant of the model. This model features TEIN coil-over suspension, Project Mu brake pads, HRE Forged P101 Monoblok wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 tires, and a Whelen LED light bar. The model is on its way to the next NASCAR race in Phoenix following SEMA.