Here’s what it looks like when Acura turns Business Insider’s Car of the Year into a race car

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Matthew DeBord/BI

The Acura NSX was Business Insider’s 2016 Car of the Year. This jaw-droppingly beautiful, high-tech reboot of Acura’s cult classic landed at a time when supercars were thick on the ground. In fact, the NSX was launched at roughly the same time Ford debuted its 24 Hours of Le Mans-conquering GT.

Fast cars want to test themselves against other fast cars, and in a few weeks, the race-car version of the NSX will make its competitive debut at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, FL, in the GT3 class.

To make this possible, Acura Motorsports had to make some serious modifications to the NSX, in order to satisfy the racing rules. The GT3 racer loses the road car’s innovative hybrid-electric drive train, with its three electric motors, and goes with just a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6, mounted between the driver and the back wheels. The gearbox drops from nine gears to six. And the all-wheel-drive system goes – the NSX GT3 is rear-wheel-drive.

Michael Shank Racing and RealTime Racing will bring four NSX GT3s to the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 28-29, where they will mix in with exotic prototype cars, as well as Corvettes, Ferraris, and Ford GTs.

Acura brought its new GT3 race car to the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, and we checked it out:


The glorious Acura NSX was BI’s Car of the Year for 2016. What a magnificent machine!

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Hollis Johnson/Skye Gould

Here it is on the show floor at the 2017 Detroit auto show. I don’t know, what do you think? Does it look better dry?

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Matthew DeBord/BI

And behold, the NSX GT3 race car. While it might sort of look the same, it’s been substantially modified to hit the track.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Just look at that massive Acura badge! There’s whole lot more naked carbon fiber, and you can easily see the aero package that’s been added to the lower front of the NSX.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Here’s a closer look. A race car like this needs to be to effectively glue itself to the track, and a lot of design planning and engineering goes into the downforce package, as well as other aero technologies that will shape the airflow around the car.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Speaking of aero, have a gander at that big ole rear wing. And it actually functions like an airplane wing — except that it doesn’t create lift, it generates downward pressure. The racing teams can adjust the downforce to favor speed or handling.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Now that’s a wing! If you look toward the lower rear of the car, you can see the carbon-fiber diffuser, another aero features that increases downforce, keeping those rear drive wheels planted and allowing the driver to attack the course without worrying about too much rear-end drift, known as oversteer.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

This notable carbon-fiber scoop might be the thing that most sets the race car and the road car apart.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

Obviously, no sunroof. Instead, more lightweight carbon fiber. And an Acura badge big enough to be seen from a helicopter.

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Matthew DeBord/BI

In icy white with some fairly subdued graphics, the NSX GT3 is ready to rock. We’ve experienced the road car on a race track and it’s a weapon, so we’re eager to see how it does at the Rolex 24 later this month.

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Matthew DeBord/BI