The 98th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is set to take place on August 30, 2020. While that is nearly two months after it normally happens, thanks to ongoing global events, Acura announced their participation in this year’s race with three examples of the 2021 TLX sedan, as well as a Time Attack-prepped NSX. The company’s own R&D engineers will pilot each of the cars up the 14,115-foot mountain, while the TLX’s involvement foreshadows its market launch in Spring 2021.
Acura’s Thursday announcement also sheds light into how much power we can expect from the TLX Type S — numbers that have eluded us thus far. While a 2.0-liter engine will still be standard fare for this model, the Type S packs a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. Acura estimates its “development prototype” at 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers sound reasonable for the production version, but Acura may tweak that a bit by the time the car actually goes on sale. For this event, the V6-powered TLX Type S wil lbe the pace car, driven by principal chassis engineer Nick Robinson.
The 2021 Acura TLX racers
One 2021 Acura TLX that will race in the Exhibition Class is a 2.0-liter model. Acura says this particular car has been race-tuned, with a larger turbocharger and intercooler for better power. It will also use the same four-piston Brembo front breaks from the TLX Type S with more aggressive racing brake pads. Returning to Pikes Peak after racing Acura’s SUVs in 2018 and 2019 to drive the TLX is another member of Acura’s Chassis Development Group, Jordan Guitar.
The other TLX in Exhibition Class is another 2.0-liter turbo, driven by Justin Lumbard. This time the car is closer to its factory setup, with an engine tune and more aggressive suspension tweaks. The car still runs with high-performance brake pads and Pirelli racing tires, just without the mechanical engine upgrades from the Type S.
Time Attack NSX
Finally, Acura is fielding an NSX in the Time Attack class, piloted by 10-time Pikes Peak veteran James Robinson. He set a hybrid production car record in 2018 with a 10:02.448 time, while netting podium finishes in Exhibition, Open and Time Attack 1 classes in his other runs. This time around, the NSX gets larger turbochargers and an engine tune to put out 625 horsepower, as well as a stripped interior and improved aerodynamics with a more aggressive wing and rear spoiler.
Thanks to stripping the interior and fitting lightweight components like HRE forged wheels, Acura says their Time Attack NSX is 200 pounds lighter than the production model. It will also compete using Pirelli R-compound racing tires.