Turbocharged NSX is a Time Attack Masterpiece

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The Esprit NSX boasts immense levels of downforce thanks to its sophisticated aerodynamics.

Esprit has received a fair share of airtime from the Best Motoring franchise which regularly features their highly-tuned cars. The offerings from this unassuming little shop is always remarkable. With their JZA80 Supras, monster GT-Rs, even turbocharged Civics and now this gorgeous NSX, Esprit has always gone the extra mile with their projects; ensuring the best in all performance departments. The NSX in focus here may be the creme de la creme though, with nearly 700 horsepower, years of development and more downforce than most racing cars. For those who’ve deemed the Honda flagship a failure, or a platform unsuitable for tuning, take a gander at this example.

Carbon aero elements front and rear suck the NSX to the racetrack.

One glance at the car and even the layman realizes this is something special. The louvres on the front fenders, the massive canards, rear diffuser and the sheer abundance of carbon – much of it unpainted  – indicates that the NSX is about as racy as a privateer can get. Even the taillight housings are shaped in carbon fiber.

The rear end, clad in carbon, houses an air duct which feeds the trunk-mounted intercooler.

When the rear hatch is opened, the astute observer will note how the C30A has been mounted longitudinally to provide enough room for the twin T51Z turbos and all the ancillary forced-induction equipment. The motor, fitted with forged internals, and the sequential gearbox are mounted on a custom space frame. Unquestionably, the piece de la resistance is the custom intake manifold, which is a work of art that will have any metalshop geek salivating.

The custom fab continues towards the back of the vehicle. Trunk-mounted intercoolers are fed by the distinctive carbon intake which sits behind the rear glass; every edge of the car has been shaped to improve airflow. The interior gets the time attack makeover, too. The dash is custom-fabricated and is canted towards the driver, displaying only relevant vehicle information. Nothing with this build is superfluous.

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The shift lever stands proudly among a backup camera display, boost controllers and a Stack dash relaying all the salient information to the driver.

To ensure the driver remains safe in the event of an accident, the car has a carbon fiber firewall and a 12-point cage. In addition, the chassis has been welded for added security and rigidity. With this level of refinement, the Esprit NSX is elevated into a realm typically occupied by factory racers only.

The Esprit NSX utilizes HKS coilovers and a set of Prodrive GC – 010Gs wheels at all four corners. Despite outputting a colossal 700 horsepower, Esprit has opted for a square setup with 9.5″ tires all around. Though no stagger might make for a pointy and unforgiving car, going for the ultimate performance usually means narrowing that window between grip and slip. Thankfully, they’ve employed Tarzan Yamada to drive the car, and he’s no stranger to opposite lock.

With a responsive powerplant propelling 2,400 pounds and a highly-skilled driver the wheel, it’s no surprise that this car tops many of the two wheel-drive timesheets. With these sorts of qualities, one may wonder why it hasn’t beaten even some of the quickest four wheel-drive entrants. With enough development, however, anything is possible.

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Tarzan Yamada consults with Esprit’s owner Masaru Maekawa before setting off for another lap.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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