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Honda NS-X in the track test: Honda NS-X GT on the racetrack

Yoshi Kimura
Honda NS-X on track test
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F ure it is a first for the Honda team . Allegedly, no journalist has yet moved their champion. The faces are correspondingly concerned. The Japanese pitted an innocent Honda Accord R. The novice should first explore the route - with a helmet of course, you never know. Montegi, Honda's own race track, is idyllically situated between rice fields and green, wooded hills.

It is 180 kilometers to Tokyo. At least three times a year there is a state of emergency: for example, when the Indy Racing League (IRL) in Montegi completes its Japanese championship run on the high-speed oval at 300 km /h or when the Moto GP heroes and the Japanese GT racing series on the 4th 8 kilometer long race track to fight for the fastest time.

Honda NS-X GT requires special entry procedure

After three laps, the warm-up with the Honda Accord is over, so: take a seat in the Honda NS-X GT to the track test. Which is not that easy at all. The steering wheel can be folded up, but the door sill is actually an oversized air duct and very wide, the door opening is rather narrow. Getting started is tough: first thread the left leg into the footwell, fix the body with the arms on the front roof spar, place the right leg in the footwell - and then let the body slide into the seat, more or less elegantly.

The mechanics' expressions did not really relax after this exercise - it was probably not very elegant. The pilot sits on the right, which is not a disadvantage on a right course - on the contrary, you can aim at many of the corners better. The procedure at the start: turn on the main switch, press the starter button, depress the clutch pedal, and pull the huge gear lever back with your left hand. A one appears in the display. Turn up the speed and release the clutch with your left foot - off you go.

The rear of the mid-engine racer Honda NS-X wipes away in a flash

In the back of my mind I still have the instructions - or were they warnings? - 'Be careful when downshifting, do not over-rev the engine.' And: 'The car understeers first and then reacts like a mid-engine racer; the rear wipes away in a flash.' The concerns do not seem entirely unfounded. Accelerated out of the pit lane, the Honda NS-X GT immediately crossed the track in second gear. Not a real problem, the tires still need somethingTemperature. But the faces at the pits are still not very relaxed. The shift lever is on the left, upshifting takes place without the clutch, you should just take off the accelerator for a moment. It doesn't go down so comfortably. The six-speed gearbox calls for the clutch foot, and a small double-declutching shock doesn't hurt either. Once the tires are up to temperature, the braking delay is gigantic. The proof: The novice brakes too early and is allowed to hit the gas again before the next corner.

500 PS and 400 Newton meters tug at the rear wheels

The super discipline of the Honda NS-X, however, is the greedy turning into corners, spontaneous and light-footed. At first there is no sign of understeer. Accelerated out of the corner, the Honda NS-X initially remains neutral for a long time in the track test, then comes the rear - as agreed. The foot on the accelerator should therefore always bring along the necessary amount of feeling; after all, up to 500 hp and 400 Newton meters pull the rear wheels. The sensitive interaction between the steering wheel and the accelerator is required. The further the Honda pushes towards the outer edge of the bend and the further the driver can open the steering, the harder the accelerator pedal can hit the floor pan.

Pedal to the metal. The V6 roars infernally. The pilot sits in the front row and has the orchestra in his left ear. At 9,600 tours, the concert is over: the switch strip on the steering wheel flashes in full color - first green, then orange, and finally red. The gearshift lever would now like to be torn backwards quickly. And the acceleration orgy continues with a sudden boost. The Honda NS-X is a straight eater, literally sniffs the slope between the curves - and would like to be compressed just as brutally before the next bend.

Honda NS-X vs. DTM racing cars

At Honda, the NS-X is compared less with a GT racer and more with the silhouette cars of the DTM. In contrast to the Honda NS-X, the DTM cars from Audi and Mercedes have four-liter, eight-cylinder engines that are installed at the front. For reasons of weight balance, the pilot is positioned far back in the middle, almost directly on the rear axle. Quite different with the Honda: It sits in the front right and has the 3.5-liter V6 mid-engine on its neck. What the DTM racers and the Honda NS-X have in common is the carbon fiber reinforced monocoque, the air ducts that run through the sides of the car and of course the massive rear wing. 460 hp in the DTM are compared to the 500 hp of the Honda NS-X. On the other hand, the Honda weighs in at 1,140 kilograms, 90 kg more. The key difference: the NS-X is on significantly wider slick tires at the front and rear. The result is higher cornering speeds, which are additionally supported by a massive, two-meter-wide wing monster at the rear.

Honda won the Japanese GT Championship with the NS-X in 2007. We are confident of this success for 2010to be able to repeat. After all, the final should take place on the Honda circuit in Montegi. We were sitting in the Shinkansen express train heading for Tokyo when we received a text message: 'If you want, you can drive our current GT car in Montegi at the end of the season.'

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