The 98 leadership of Pikes Peak The International Hillclimb will go down a month from Thursday, and Acura drew cuts from its competitors for the event. Instead of the MDX and RDX riders that the automaker has fielded for the past few years, it will be attacking the hills with a pair of new Type TLX-A sedans.
Needless to say, the NSX of the team working in the Time Attack class will return for the third year with the goal of breaking records. And based on the entry list, it looks like most of the nasty Real Time Racing TLX GT cars that Peter Cunningham drove to third last year are making their return to the hands of the -racer Bret Curtis.
Acura’s Pikes Peak racing program is extremely interesting, as the company’s R&D department builds and prepares the race cars, and then happens to them. That’s right, Acura doesn’t rent hot shoes to push their cars up the hill. The engineers who work on these things every day are the same man who happens to them. Acura engineers currently have the front wheel drive and hybrid record times on the hill, and the semi-retired pro-racer Cunningham owns the Time Attack class record.
The two entered TLX race cars will be racing in the showroom with two different states of tuning and downforce, but that’s where the similarities end.
The more we look at the stock from the two performance tuning features on the factory drivetrain components. A set of performance brake pads in the stock brake system helps it stop. Some suspension tweaks help it corner. An 18 “set of HRE wheels and Pirelli race tires have the rolling stock covered. That’s about it. It’s a great TLX stock and, and it would be interesting to see where it is in the field next month.
The TLX of the two more ready for the race will most definitely be faster at Pikes Peak. Not only because it sits a little lower and has large wings, but those definitely help. It has a larger turbocharger and intercooler for power boost. We will also get a Brembo braking package prescribed by the upcoming TLX Type-S and high performance brake pads. Acura doesn’t say exactly what’s different about the car’s suspension, but I’d think it got tuned coilovers on the race, and a unique SH-AWD system to refine for the race. Garnish with a set of HRE wheels and Pirelli racing rocks, serve hot.
The faster of the two will be driven by engineer Jordan Guitar, who ran up the mountain twice before in RDX and MDX. The most stock of the two TLXs will be brought in by Justin Lumbard, who is a rookie competitor at Pikes Peak but has been an engineer on the team for a handful of years.
James Robinson will re-grow his heavily modified NSX in the Time Attack class. Robinson will be seeking redemption in 2020, following a poor performance in 2019 that saw him sitting on the starting line for several minutes as the car that came in front of him started running again twice. By the time he put on the starting line, his tires had lost the pre-installed heat, and the heat of the wet engine compartment, and had lost valuable horsepower at an already hampered altitude level. .
Robinson’s competition in the Time Attack class looks pretty good. Aside from a trio of Porsches – David Donohue and David Donner in GT2 RS Clubsports pairs, and Jeff Zwart in 935 – there’s really nothing knocking on the door for 10 minutes like his NSX does.
It will be interesting to see how these new TLX sedans do on the hill. I know I want to give both faster. This thing looks like a real ripper.
And as a special surprise, Acura will add space to a prototype of the new 3-liter V6 TLX Type-S turbo.