It’s not often privateer NSXs perform that well at Tsukuba’s time attack events. Because of the long straights and slow corners, the midship balance and normally aspirated motor found in Honda’s flagship doesn’t have as great an effect on performance as some might think.
Instead, it’s the four wheel-drive, turbocharged Evos and GT-Rs which tend to populate the sharp end of the field, and for good reason. With all that traction available and plenty of grunt from their force-fed motors, they are, in many ways, optimized for the specific challenges Tsukuba throws at a driver.
That said, there are always ways around the rules. In this case, a very astute and devoted racer named Hannita has developed an NA2 NSX to deliver without boost or a driven front axle. Instead, he’s implemented plenty of sophisticated aero and a responsive motor to try and capitalize on some of the Honda’s strong points. Again, Tsukuba’s slow corners don’t necessarily favor rear wheel-drive, but the huge amount of mechanical grip allows for impressive acceleration out of these second- and third-gear bends.
Where the NSX struts its stuff is in the quick right-hander, imaginatively named “Last Corner” which — you guessed it — precedes the start-finish line. The astounding levels of grip allows Hannita to go flat out, and still have some in reserve. This aero grip can also be seen at work after the daunting Dunlop corner which, due to its tightening shape, normally pushes cars out to the edge of the circuit.
In the case of the Kyushu-Danji NSX, the entire width of the road isn’t even necessary since the car is so planted. With only a middling 400 horsepower, this normally-aspirated, aero-laden monster achieves a 56.370 lap; something most GT-Rs would be envious of.