Honda Racing in the previous season tackled the SUPER GT series with the newly developed chassis based on NSX Type-S.
Although the NSX-GT force achieved a total of three wins in that year, and Naoki Yamamoto/Tadasuke Makino team and Koudai Tsukakoshi/Nobuharu Matsushita team achieved overall 3rd and 4th respectively, the long-awaited championship title had yet again slipped away.
NSX-GT's last year with a Must-Win
Honda has already announced that they would switch the base chassis for the 2024 GT500 class entry to CIVIC Type R, which means it will be the last year for the NSX models to participate in the category. It has been three years since NSX-GT last won the SUPER GT title, therefore, it is very natural that Honda Racing crave to adorn NSX’s final season by recovering the series title. For that purpose, they have drastically changed both team structures and driver line-ups.
First of all, #16 car that had run under TEAM MUGEN’s control till last year will come under the command of ARTA together with #8 car. That means the grouping of Honda camp will change from 5-teams/5-cars to the 4-teams/5-cars combination.
As for the driver line-ups, #100 car of TEAM KUNIMITSU driven by Naoki Yamamoto/Tadasuke Makino that had ranked 3rd with one win last year and #17 car of Astemo REAL RACING ranked 4th with one win by Koudai Tsukakoshi/Nobuharu Matsushita will remain unchanged： The both teams with their consistency and steady speed derived from the proven combination and teamwork may well take the leading part in the Honda camp to fight through the series.
Other three teams have had each driver line-up more or less shuffled. The ace driver of ARTA’s #8 car, Tomoki Nojiri will be mated with new partner namely Toshiki Oyu. Nojiri’s ex-partner, Nirei Fukuzumi, partnered with Hiroki Otsu, will drive #16 car that newly came under the command of ARTA of which performance enhanced by the 2-car entry would be much worthy of attention.
Modulo Nakajima Racing running #64 car in the hands of Takuya Izawa will be joined by Kakunoshin Ohta who has been singled out from Honda’s training program, Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP). It will be interesting to see how veteran Izawa would inspire the performance of rookie Ohta.
Adaptation to CNF is key to Machine Development
Looking into the technical aspect of the 2023 NSX-GT, it seems that no major change was done because of the regulatory measures freezing development of fundamental components, however, many updates within the legal allowance were made at every possible place that had come to light.
Engines are basically the continuing version from the previous year, but have been evolved to optimally conform with the carbon neutral fuel (CNF) mandated as from the 2023 season.
CNF is a non-fossil fuel made from biomass introduced in order to realize the motorsport that can go hand in hand with the eco-friendly decarbonized society. Characteristically, CNF is less framable than the conventional high-octane gasoline, so that some new technical adjustments are essential to make the racing engine perform at its maximum capacity. Therefore, the technological competition among the entrants in this specific field would be another "must-see" in this season.