Acura won’t have the 2015 TLX, which is still technically in concept form, on showroom floors until later in 2014. Well before then, a race version called the TLX GT will have been trading paint with the likes of Corvettes, Vipers, and Ferraris. While it was no surprise to see the nearly production-spec TLX labeled a concept at this year’s Detroit auto show, Acura did surprise many by showing off the racing version simultaneously. The TLX GT will contest the Pirelli World Challenge series’s top-rung GT class, pitting the car against the likes of the list above and a few European GT3 machines. The race car will make its debut when the series kicks off in St. Petersburg on March 28.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) will build the cars, with the chassis and aero devices approved by the World Challenge competition committee. HPD will begin with the 278-hp, naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, and then add direct injection and a pair of turbochargers. Power will be routed to all four wheels via Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive.
Honda will have a familiar and very successful face in the TLX GT: Peter “P.D.” Cunningham. Based in Saukville, Wisconsin, Cunningham’s RealTime Racing is the most successful team in the World Challenge series, with 85 race wins, 14 manufacturers’ titles, and 14 drivers’ crowns in Hondas and Acuras. Cunningham would likely love to rack up another race win at St. Petersburg in an Acura, just as he did in in 1997 when he started the season with a GT win in an NSX.