The Honda HSV 010 V8 race car has been spied testing at Suzuka in Japan.
Although Honda calls it "a racing car specially developed for Japanese Super GT category", it is loosely based on Honda’s axed 'next NSX' project.
Honda put a lot of time and work into developing a new front-engined V10 super-coupe, to go head to head with the Lexus LFA.
The car was seen testing and was close to being signed off when Honda pulled the plug in winter 2008 as the economic crisis hit, around the same time Honda announced it was quitting Formula One.
Sources say Honda’s plan was to launch the new V10 super-coupe as the Acura Sports, its launch timed to coincide with the debut of Acura, Honda’s luxury dealer channel, in Japan.
In the end, both projects got canned, but not before Honda put quite a bit of work into developing a separate, pure race version of the Acura Sports for Super GT, Japan’s hugely popular tin-top race series.
The Super GT version of the Acura Sports will carry the road car’s silhouette but underneath it would be totally different, with an all-new carbonfibre chassis and swapping the road car’s 5.0-litre V10 – good for 500bhp plus – for a race-bred 3.4-litre V8 to meet the new Super GT regs.
The road car’s high-performance, rear-biased Super Handling 4WD system has also been exchanged for a simpler, more robust rear drive layout, again to meet Super GT regs.
Honda will build a limited run of race cars to meet the requirements of the Super GT teams, but has stressed the race car will not be sold, nor form the basis of a road car.
It’s a 90-degree V8 with 3400cc capacity, rev-limited to 10,300rpm and good for 600bhp plus. For Super GT duty, the engine will have to be significantly reworked for a more endurance spec. Super GT races are longer and harder than Formula Nippon and each engine also has to last for four races.
The V8 engine will also be air-restricted to 500bhp to meet the regs in Super GT’s top GT500 class, but will lose the rev limiter.
The details of the car and the team organisation will be announced in January.