A competition version of the new 2013 Acura ILX is on display at the 2012 SEMA Show before it makes its competition debut at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race set for next month. Team Honda Research- West designed and created this vehicle. In compliance with NASA U.S. Touring Car specs, a couple of E1 class Acura ILX sedans will join the traditional 25-hour endurance race that marks the annual conclusion of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) season at the tough three-mile Thunderhill road course north of Sacramento, California.
Team Honda Research-West (THR-W) is composed mainly of Torrance, California-based associates from Honda R&D Americas, Inc., who work after-hours to display Honda and Acura products on the track.
The team got a couple of new Acura ILX "body in white" bare chassis in early 2012 from Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC, which is where the model is exclusively built. In addition, a couple of "donor" cars from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. was utilized to offer suspension, powertrain, interior and electronic parts. As soon as the chassis and donor cars were sent to the THR-W workshop, a wide-ranging build program started that called for the use of as many OEM components as possible, to maintain its serviceability and to test the actual durability of Acura's latest sedan.
THR-W members sought to prepare the cars for the challenging Thunderhill event by concentrating on cutting the vehicle weight rather than their performance modifications to attain the performance targets that the team had established.
The safety equipment used by NASA included a full roll cage (designed by THR-W and built by Solo Motorsports); Bride Gardis III race seat; OMP competition steering wheel; Schroth safety harness; Brockway Engineering D Gauge digital OBD2 gauge; and Braille lightweight battery. The exterior changes include a Baja Designs LED lighting system for long winter night-running, a THR-W-designed front splitter and an APR GTC-200 rear spoiler.