There is a point in the Acura NSX Type S accelerator pedal’s travel where the computer receives a signal that you just aren’t dicking around anymore. There’s a step point at about the three-quarter throttle mark where it takes an extra bit of shove to get past in order to open the taps and give it full beans, as they say. On my first lap of the Daytona International Speedway road course, I found that point as we exited the infield and roared up onto the banking headlong toward NASCAR Turn 1. An uttered “Holy fuck” escaped my lips, followed by an unexpected chortle.
Just minutes before I’d folded myself up and tucked myself in behind the steering wheel [Helmet first, then right leg toward the pedals, right buttock on the seat, pull left leg in, then finally left cheek] of a limited Gotham Grey Matte Type S. It’s not usually a particularly difficult vehicle to board, but at 6'2" with a giant Great Gazoo helmet on my noggin, it just wasn’t built for this. I pushed the seat around until I was comfortable and adjusted the steering wheel where I could reach it. Okay, let’s rip!
Walking onto a dead pit lane mere minutes after the end of Friday’s four-hour Pilot Challenge race, and hours before the big guns would take to the track for the world-famous 24, I felt the weight of all the heroes who came before. It doesn’t do any good to try to count out those who have raced here. The numerous Hills, Gurneys, Donohues, Andrettis, Pettys, Earnhardts, Taylors; shit, who hasn’t raced here? Under the lights the track has a bit of an eerie feeling to it, but at full chat there’s no time to be introspective.
I slotted third in line and dutifully fired up my 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 when commanded to do so. The car was already in Sport+ mode, raring to go. The traditional delicate and polite NSX nature replaced by a demonic possession goading you to keep your foot in the throttle. “You can go past that brake marker, take it to the one board this time.” The Incomparable American driver Ryan Eversley was on hand in a gorgeous yellow Type S to guide us around the course. His task was to lead us around fast enough to get us excited, but not so fast that we listen to the demon and royally fuck up.
Trundling out of pit lane, Eversley talked us around the infield at a relatively slow pace so I could get used to the controls. Once we got to the banking, though, it was full throttle into the eye of the storm. Many armchair car pundits will claim that 600 horsepower isn’t enough in 2022, but it’s more than enough to set your head back. The V6 is among the most sonorous ever crafted in that configuration, and it zings up to redline in no time flat.
Acura revamped the engine for the Type S with new turbochargers directly from the NSX GT3 race car for 5.6 percent more boost, bigger injectors for 25 percent more fuel, and improved intercoolers to lower intake charge temperatures by 15 percent. A 27 horsepower gain from the 2021 NSX to Type S spec doesn’t seem like a lot, but it and the 16 lb-ft of torque bump is not unwelcome. The electric drive on the front axle has also been improved with a larger battery meaning the motor can now dig 10 percent deeper to deliver more output for longer, and the engineers re-jigged the output with a 20 percent lower ratio for improved acceleration.
That all seems like a lot of words to say that the Type S is a little bit more powerful than the previous model. It’s also a good bit lighter, but that’s another thing that would be difficult to evaluate without driving the two cars back to back. Honestly, when it comes to the spec sheet, who cares? Fast is fast, and rare is rare. If you want the Type S, you’ll pay for the extra. If you already have an NSX, it’s probably not enough that you’d want to sell it and buy the Type S. Anyway, the NSX is a damn good car, and a lot of people talk trash without having driven one.
Coming out of NASCAR Turn 2 I went to grab an upshift paddle and accidentally knocked the wiper stalk out of pure unfamiliarity. Suddenly I find myself in the unenviable position of attempting to shut off the wipers while in a $1 million chain of cars while driving on a banked track for the first time ever negotiating 150 mile per hour plus speeds. Interestingly, the car was so stable and unperturbed that I never felt so much as nervous fiddling with the stalk to find its non-wipe home. I even had time to find another upshift before jumping out of the throttle and diving on the brakes for the chicane.
Back up onto the banking out of the chicane and we’re at 120 before we get to NASCAR Turn 3. Eversley instructs the pack to keep steady around 125 around the north end of the speedway. Leveled out heading toward the tri-oval it was flat out once again, and I’m not sure what kind of speed we carried across the stripe, as I wasn’t about to look down at the speedo, but it felt pretty damn fast.
I was only treated to a couple of quick laps around the track, a true seven minutes in heaven. It was just enough of a taste to know that I hadn’t even come close to the limits of the car, the track, or even myself. I had enough time in the car to know that I will forever envy the 300 Americans that get the pleasure of owning an NSX Type S. Given another few hours of time in the car with Mr. Eversley’s tutelage, I might have even run a respectable lap time, but still nowhere near the kinds of laps that the pros could pull the following evening.
Ultimately this experience only gave me more respect for the drivers in the 24 Hours of Daytona. That banking is no joke when we’re all running single file in street cars at 7/10ths of the car’s capability, I simply cannot imagine what it’s like for Helio Castroneves to execute a three-wide pass on much slower traffic while being chased down by Kamui Kobayashi at nearly 200 miles per hour. Those guys don’t get paid well enough.
The NSX Type S has everything you’d ever want in a sports car. It’s both quick and fast, it sounds amazing, it looks even better, and has more grip and brakes than I will ever have talent. I would say you should consider buying one, but all 350 worldwide examples have already been spoken for. Maybe you can pay half a million for one at a Barrett Jackson auction in 2025. I mean, I wouldn’t, but maybe you would.