Acura is returning to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a four-pronged assault on the June 22-24 event.
Led by Peter Cunningham in the Open class for a second time with his ex-Pirelli World Challenge Acura TLX-GT, the American arm of the Japanese brand will also pursue victory in the Exhibition class with Nick Robinson driving a 2018 TLX A-Spec; his brother James Robinson will take the wheel of a 2017 NSX in Time Attack 1. Courtesy of Jordan Guitar, the competition debut of Acura’s 2019 RDX in the Exhibition class will also take place.
Cunningham, the most successful driver in PWC history, was an instant success on his PPIHC debut in 2017 with the all-wheel-drive twin-turbo V6-powered TLX-GT, and aims to lower his time on the mountain thanks to aero and engine advancements that have been made.
“What we managed to do with the engine was squeak a little more power out,” the RealTime Racing founder told RACER. “It’s the same engine from last year with the same turbos, but Honda Performance Development engineers have found more power. We have an updated front aero package with new dive planes and a revised splitter we developed with TotalSim, and they spent some time working out what we really needed up front. We have the same rear wing, but with different endplates and more angle to balance out the front.”
The RTR-prepped TLX-GT, which sports a new livery, will also make use of a new tire partner for this year’s ‘Race to the Clouds.’
“The rules, through last year, required DOT-specification tires, and that has changed so we’ll have Pirelli slicks on the car,” Cunningham added. “We’re hoping to improve our relative performance, and in testing, it’s hard to know where you’re at, but we showed well compared to the cars we were up against that were testing.”
As one of very few manufacturers to make an annual commitment to the event, the assortment of race cars and production cars fielded by the brand brings more character to Pikes Peak. On the personal side, Cunningham looks forward to the camaraderie found within the Honda/Acura camp.
“The three other members of the team are Honda associates from Ohio, and in the case of Nick and James, they’ve been there multiple years, and Jordan Guitar, who’s a successful rally driver for a Honda-associated team, will make his debut with the 2019 RDX.
“What I like most about this is how so many people from within the company volunteer, get dirty, do what’s needed, and it’s a very enjoyable way to showcase the cars and just have fun together,” he said. “It’s unlike anything you’ll find at a regular racing event.”