NSX-RDevelopment Story

When we introduced the NSX in 1990, we set out to establish a new concept in sports car value. Within the broader sports car category that included everything from small- to large-displacement vehicles, we offered such choices as a middle-weight, 3-liter normally-aspirated engine, and an all-aluminum body construction. We also offered a commitment toward exhaust emission levels that responded strongly to environmental concerns. These advances all originated in our unchanging desire to create a new, distinctive set of values in high performance driving. And now the NSX has entered a new phase of evolution. Its aerodynamically advanced styling and wider tires propel it to new heights of speed and driving pleasure. This new step forward has been extremely invigorating for us on the NSX development team. Ten years after the introduction of the original NSX-R, we found ourselves filled with eagerness to develop a new “Type-R” version of the NSX. It was the type of excitement one feels when setting out to be the first to climb an unexplored mountain peak. The Type R’s role is to deliver the ultimate in speed and driving pleasure in a road car to driving enthusiasts on all types of racing circuits. Our objective in developing the new Type R was to apply new aerodynamic technologies to achieve a level of stability and control beyond current levels, thus achieving versatile, deeply satisfying handling and driving pleasure at all speeds. We spent many hours and much energy to arrive at the purest, most balanced definition of a sports car, to the point where evei?n the slightest change in spoiler angle, stabilizer bar diameter, or suspension bushing rigidity would distance the car from what a “true Type R” is all about. The result is a sports car that brings driver and machine closer together than ever before, establishing a bond of communication that inspires the driver with absolute confidence in the vehicle’s reactions, opening the door to a world of breathtaking high-speed performance. It is my sincere wish that you will be able to enjoy the full depth and breadth of the NSX-R’s performance in its environment of choicežthe racing circuit.

p01Shigeru Uehara, Executive Chief Engineer, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Joined Honda R&D Co., Ltd in 1971. Specializes in vehicle stability and handling performance. In 1985, appointed LPL (Large Project Leader) for the mid-ship research project. In 1990, appointed LPL for the NSX development project. Other contributions to Honda’s sports car development include leading the development team for the S2000.



Honing vehicle control quality to achieve outstanding highspeed performance in a driver-oriented sports car

The main development objective for the New NSX-R was to be able to “extract maximum performance from the vehicle on a variety of circuits”. While driving, the driver continually relies on feedback provided by the car, which is collected via the senses and interpreted in relation to past experiences. Based on the dynamic characteristics of the vehicle, the driver collects information on the car’s behavior and responsiveness through all five senses, comparing it with his or her own input. Thus, in order to create a car that can be driven at high speed, not only must the overall dynamic performance level of the car be improved, but also the ease of driver control – in other words, the vehicle’s control quality. This objective was the driving force at the heart of the new NSX-R’s development program. In addition to the weight reduction technologies central to the Type R’s development, we have channeled our efforts toward increased high-speed stability and improved aerodynamics as a way to further improve overall performance. We have striven to develop a new technological concept, “aerodynamically-induced stability”, which involves the creation of aerodynamic downforce for the benefit of increased driving control. We sought a level of driving control that would give the driver the confidence necessary to accelerate still further in already high-speed racing circuit conditions. Aerodynamically-induced stability not only increases control of the vehicle at high speeds, it also allows the chassis to be tuned for enhanced cornering in tighter turns. This results in the kind of versatile handling where the driver feels at one with the car at all speeds, and has allowed us to enter a new realm of driving experience that meets the requirements of both high-speed circuits and technical courses – two very different environments that on most race cars would require settings for completely opposite priorities. The mid-ship layout of the NSX was crucial in allowing us to implement the detailed chassis settings required to maximize the effect of aerodynamically-induced stability – and combine it with outstanding handling performance. Racing engine technologies normally unheard of in a production vehicle are incorporated, including a balanced and blue-printed crankshaft assembly. In the same vein, the main aerodynamic parts relating to the creation of the aerodynamic downforce of the car are formed from carbon fiber materials using proprietary technologies. Every possible factor has been taken into account to achieve our ultimate goal. This is what lies at the heart of the new NSX-R’s outstanding driver affinity and its exceptional high-speed performance on racing circuits.

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