2021 TLX to Make Racing Debut at Pikes Peak Hill Climb
27 Aug, 2020
The 2020 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, marks the official racing debut of the completely reimagined 2021 TLX, set to go on sale this fall. Acura will compete in the 98th running of the “Race to the Clouds” on Aug. 30, with two race prepared second generation TLXs, powered by modified versions of the production 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, along with a “Time Attack” NSX supercar. Pacing the race to the 14,115-foot summit will be a development prototype of the highly anticipated TLX Type S, ahead of its market introduction next spring.
Racing is a key expression of Acura’s Precision Crafted Performance DNA and, for the past nine years, Acura has utilized the grueling Pikes Peak hill climb as an opportunity to grow the skills of the company’s young engineers and as a test bed for future performance technologies in Acura production vehicles. Acura’s Pikes Peak team is comprised of a group of volunteer R&D engineers and is responsible for all aspects of the competition, including the development of vehicles, race prep, crew support and navigating race cars to the finish line.
Acura’s long-standing competitive presence at Pikes Peak includes scoring numerous race records and podium finishes. In 2019, Peter Cunningham took the win in the Open Class for the third year in a row with the RealTime Racing TLX GT (9:24.433). Additional record setting runs include a Hybrid-production car record for the Acura NSX driven by James Robinson (10:02.448) and a front-wheel drive record for the Acura TLX driven by Nick Robinson (10:48.094), records established in 2018 that have yet to be surpassed.
The Race Entries
TLX Type S Pace Car // Driver: Nick Robinson - The TLX Type S Pace Car, an early development prototype used for circuit testing, will be driven by Nick Robinson, a principal engineer in the company’s Chassis Development Group. The prototype TLX Type S is undergoing final development tuning before it is set to arrive in market next spring. Powering the TLX Type S is Acura’s new 3.0 V6 Turbo engine, expected to produce 355 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque, and distributing power to all four wheels via Acura’s fourth-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®). Additionally, the TLX Type S Pace Car has been equipped with the optional lightweight Y-Spoke wheels, inspired by the NSX’s own, and several safety modifications including a roll-cage and fire suppression system.
A Pikes Peak veteran himself, Robinson established a new front-wheel-drive record for Pikes Peak in 2018 with an Acura TLX and achieved a Time Attack 2 Class Win with a second-gen NSX in 2016. The year prior, he won the PP250 class on a Honda motorcycle. In addition, Nick Robinson serves as a driving safety expert and helps mentor new drivers throughout their careers at Honda R&D Americas.
2021 TLX 2.0T // Driver: Jordan Guitar - Both of the 2021 TLX race cars will compete in the Exhibition Class, with multiple modifications in preparation for the grueling hill climb. The TLX’s standard 2.0-liter turbocharged engine has been race-tuned with a larger turbo and intercooler for increased power. Stopping performance from the electro-servo braking system is improved with 4-piston Brembo® front calipers and rotors from the TLX Type S, along with high-performance racing pads. A more aggressive suspension set up is applied, as well as unique tuning for the 10-speed automatic transmission and Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®)system. Lightweight 19-inch HRE wheels with Pirelli racing tires complete the TLX’s race preparation.
Driver Jordan Guitar, a member of the company’s team’s Chassis Development Group, made his Pikes Peak debut in 2018 and returned in 2019, piloting Acura SUVs in both instances. Unfortunately, foul weather hampered Guitar’s runs both years, limiting him to just the lower two thirds of the mountain.
2021 TLX 2.0T // Driver: Justin Lumbard - The second TLX entered into the Exhibition Class will be driven by Justin Lumbard – team manager of Acura’s Pikes Peak efforts. Lumbard’s TLX benefits from a higher-output tune for the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a more aggressive set up for the TLX’s double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension. Rounding out the race-ready modifications are high performance brake pads, lightweight 18-inch HRE wheels and Pirelli racing tires.
A rookie Pikes Peak competitor, Justin Lumbard joined the Acura Pikes Peak team in 2017, under the wing of team leader James Robinson, and became co-leader a year later. Lumbard assumed the lead role for Acura’s Pikes Peak racing program this year, including overseeing the development of the two 2021 TLX race car builds.
“Time Attack” NSX // Driver: James Robinson - Returning to the Peak for the third consecutive year is the “Time Attack” NSX driven by James Robinson. A 10-time Pikes Peak veteran, Robinson’s past successes in the “Race to the Clouds” include a hybrid production car record set with NSX in 2018 (10:02.448) as well as podium finishes in the Exhibition, Open and Time Attack 1 classes.
The “Time Attack” NSX features a larger rear wing and aggressive front splitter to add significant downforce for better lateral grip at speed. Larger turbochargers and new engine management software optimizes performance of the twin-turbo V6 and three-motor Sport Hybrid system for maximum performance during the hill climb, with total system output of around 625 horsepower. Through various weight reduction measures, including a stripped interior, the “Time Attack” NSX shaves more than 200 lbs. from its factory weight. Finally, lightweight HRE forged wheels are wrapped in high-grip Pirelli R-compound tires.
About the 2021 TLX - The all-new 2021 Acura TLX ushers in a new era of Acura performance as the quickest, best-handling and most well-appointed sedan in the brand’s 35-year history. With a model-exclusive body structure and chassis architecture, all turbo engine lineup, and an athletic stance with bold proportions, the new TLX delivers dramatic gains in both style and dynamic performance. The first Acura sedan fully designed around the brand’s Precision Crafted Performance ethos, the 2021 TLX will arrive at dealerships early this fall with a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) starting in the mid-$30,000 range.
The second-generation TLX also marks the highly anticipated return of Acura’s Type S high performance variant after a decade-long hiatus. The TLX Type S, arriving next spring, will be powered by an all-new Acura exclusive 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine developed for Type S levels of performance. Additionally, the new TLX Type S will be the first Type S model to feature Acura’s torque vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system, making it the best handling and most performance-oriented Acura sedan yet.
About Acura - Acura is a leading automotive nameplate that delivers Precision Crafted Performance – a commitment to expressive styling, high performance and innovative engineering, all built on a foundation of quality and reliability. The Acura lineup features five distinctive models – the ILX and TLX sport sedans, the RDX and MDX sport-utility vehicles and the next-generation, electrified NSX supercar. All Acura models sold in North America for the 2021 model year are made in the U.S., using domestic and globally sourced parts.