After nearly two decades, one of Acura's most legendary race cars has returned to the track.
The reveal of the Acura Type S concept last month signaled the return of the automaker's sporty Type S performance line. Now, Acura is returning to its racing roots and has revived one of its most legendary race cars.
Motorsport fans should be familiar with RealTime Racing's modified Acura Integra Type R. It made its track debut back in 1997 where it competed in the Speed Touring Car Championship until 2002, securing 23 wins, five Drivers' Championships and four Manufacturer titles – a record that remains unbroken to this day. The Type R race car is remarkably similar to the road car it's based on. Racing modifications were limited to race-spec springs and shocks, mandatory safety equipment such as a roll cage, and a stripped-out interior.
The manual transmission was left stock, and the naturally aspirated B18 engine was tuned to rev up to 9,000 rpm, up from 8,400 rpm in the road car.
Compared to the regular Integra, the Type R version benefited from extra welds for additional chassis strength and stiffness, as well as a factory-fitted underhood chassis-stiffening strut bar and unique brakes and suspension. "We knew from the start the Acura Integra Type R was a very special car," said John Cunningham, team owner of RealTime Racing. "But now, after all these years, it's achieved legendary status, and rightly so. I believe it's still one of the best performing front-wheel drive cars ever built."
To celebrate its legacy, the team tracked down the original race car and gave it a complete restoration. It was stripped down to its bare metal and brought back to its original glory. Nearly two decades after it was retired from racing, the completed car returned to the track to compete in the WeatherTech International Challenge at Road America Cunningham, where it finished fourth in a 60-car grid.
"It was our first race back out with the Acura Integra Type R, and it was like we never skipped a beat. We had a great time!" said Cunningham. "There were some 60 cars in our group and only a few vehicles in a class above beat us, so it was a great day for RealTime and Acura and great to have the Type R back on track."