New Acura GTP V6 might be Honda’s last ICE for “real racing”

Honda’s North American racing chief fears that the V6 twin-turbo powerplant for its 2023 Acura GTP sportscar “might be the last” all-new internal combustion engine it ever builds for racing.

New Acura GTP V6 might be Honda’s last ICE for “real racing”

Speaking ahead of the start of the new LMDh era of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, HPD president David Salters said his team had been given “a lot of freedom” and took “quite a lot of risk” in the 2.4-litre design, which is paired with the first electrical hybrid system in top-class American racing.

“In the back of our mind, we thought this might be the last one that we really make for racing, I don’t know,” said Salters.

“Among the brief I gave our boys and girls, it was ‘let’s do the best we can because it may be the last one we put pen to paper on for real racing’ – it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

“It was always in our mind that we wanted to celebrate all the efforts and learnings that we’d gathered and try to put it all together.

“A very wise team owner once told me that two years is a very long time in motorsport, so it could all change, and the world is changing very quickly.

“And these cars certainly look like the future, which is quite amazing.”

Salters explained that the AR24e motor – which has been designed to work in unison with the LMDh common hybrid package of Bosch MGU, Williams battery and Xtrac gearbox – is a clean-sheet design for the new GTP class.

Insight: Inside the spec hybrid spine of LMDh cars

“The easy thing would’ve been to lift the DPi engine and plonk it in the back of our LMDh, but that’s not why we do this,” he said.

Acura ARX-06 engine

Acura ARX-06 engine

Photo by: Acura

“I feel fortunate to work for Honda and Acura, we have our own factory with 200-odd people who deal with all sorts of programmes, and we do this to challenge ourselves.

“We sat there with the rulebook and we asked ourselves what we could do to make the best racing car we can.

“My head of simulation spent the Christmas holidays two years ago doing loads of simulation and came back with a 100-page report on January 2 to say: ‘This looks good!’

“We spent time looking around at what we might do, and what we may make, to make the best engine and package to go in that car. It turned out to be a lot of work, but it’s been great fun.

“We gave our boys and girls a lot of freedom in the packaging and, honestly speaking, we took quite a lot of risk to try and make the nicest-packaged engine we could and I think we’re very proud of that.

“We basically tried to make our lives as difficult as humanly possible, and off we went!

“And the poor old [HPD] president has to pay for it! All in a good cause.”

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