The 2017 IMSA season is officially upon us as teams take part in the Daytona Open Test. Not everyone is participating in this weeks test however Acura has shown up with both of its brand new NSX GT3s. Making their public debut in the hands of Michael Shank Racing the Acuras are sporting some interesting numbers. Typically Michael Shank Racing Cars are numbered 60 & 6, the new NSX GT3s are numbered 86 and 93. They seem to be numbered at random, however that could not be further from the case. The numbers are taken from Acura & HPD’s North American racing history.
The 86 car gets its number from Acura’s debut in IMSA competition. Acura first entered the IMSA Champion Spark Plug Challenge in 1986. Doug Peterson drove an Acura Integra with Mugen built motors. Due to the reliability of the Acura package Peterson finished every single race en-route to the season’s driver’s championship. No small accomplishment for a car in its debut season. Acura would go on to race in IMSA’s GTP Lights category, winning 3 consecutive championships from 1991 to 1993.
The 93 car gets its number from 1993. in April of 1993 Honda Performance Development (HPD) opened its doors for the first time. HPD was the company responsible for designing, developing and building the NSX GT3. HPD has housed Honda’s North American Base of operations ever since ’93. Home to Honda’s CART and IndyCar programs, specifically charged with building all Honda engines. Eventually HPD would head the Acura/Honda’s LMP programs.
I like it when race teams hearken back to their history. I liked how ford numbered its GTs 66, 67, 68 & 69 for its return to Le Mans. Numbers represented the 4 consecutive years Ford won at Le Mans. Sure, at the end of the day numbers have absolutely no bearing on results but it is cool to see.