While Honda may have scuttled plans for a street-legal successor to the Acura NSX sports car, its spirit lives on in the new Honda HSV-010 GT. Designed to compete in the GT500 category of the Japanese Super GT Endurance Series, the HSV-010 GT will go head-to-head with race-prepped versions of cars like the Lexus LF-A and a rear-drive variant of the Nissan GT-R.
Under the new-for-2010 rules, Super GT entries are required to have a front-engine/rear-drive layout and be based on a "production-ready" design. Unlike its original mid-engine V6 configuration -- which was effectively banned from competition under these revised regulations -- the second-generation NSX was to have a V10 mounted up front. But when the financial havoc that hammered the auto world caused Honda to cancel that ambitious program barely a year before its scheduled launch, the automaker went looking for a way to recover at least some of the extensive R&D costs that had been incurred. The HSV-010 GT emerged as the serendipitous solution to all aspects of the dilemma.
The most obvious difference between the stillborn Gen II NSX and the new HSV (which stands for Honda Sports Velocity) is found underhood, where this 2,425-pound rocket packs a purpose-built 3.4-liter V8 in place of the 5.0-liter V10 that was originally intended to nestle there. Developed for use in the single-seater Formula Nippon Series, this all-alloy Honda eight makes over 500 horsepower which gets sent to the rear wheels via a paddle-shifted manual transmission. First outing for the new HSV-010 GT will be the Super GT season opener on March 20 at the Suzuka racing circuit. Sadly, Honda says it has no intentions of ever producing an HSV-010 GT for the street.