Honda For The ‘Ring
GT2 cars are still outlawed for the Nürburgring 24 Hours, but the teams, especially those with factory support, are finding more and more ingenious ways of getting some very special machinery into the race. With the exception of the Nissan Skyline, all frontrunners in last year's race represented German marques; now Japan is upping the ante. For the first time a Japanese GT Championship GT500 Honda NSX will be seen in European competition.

As reported by Joost Custers last week, Honda Germany and the GS-Motorsport team of Nordschleife and Belcar veteran Georg Severich have teamed up to prepare a 2002 Honda NSX for the German classic. Built by Dome Cars, chassis #03 was retired at the end of the '02 JGTC season after a successful campaign in the hands of Satoru Nakajima's team, with drivers Tsugio Matsuda and Ralph Firman. They won three races, and finished second in the overall standings that year.

After a year and a half in retirement, the car is now modified for the demands of 24 hour racing, and the Nordschleife in particular, by the specialists of Toda Racing. The first test in the hands of its new owner is scheduled before the end of the month; then the car will be shipped to Germany where development work will continue.

The engine will be a 3.5l GT500 / GT300 hybrid, with a projected power output of about 420bhp. This does not sound excessive compared to the 450+bhp of the DTM engines, or the abundant power of the turbo Porsches; but the basic weight for specials up to 3.5l is 1200kgs so the car will be able to shed some weight, and will have a 50kg advantage over its main rivals. The driver lineup is not yet known.

The project is backed, and well publicised, by German car magazine "sport auto". Along with the JGTC car, GS-Motorsport will also probably enter last year's modified production NSX-R for a team of "sport auto" journalists again.

Nordschleife fans are looking forward to what promises to be the strongest Japanese challenge yet.
Johannes Gauglica


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