Unexpected and unannounced, it suddenly appeared: the Honda NSX GT3, doing its laps around the Nordschleife. JAS Motorsport, the chosen Honda representative in European motorsports, had joined the Friday training for the second VLN race of the season to perform some baseline testing at the 24-kilometer long race track.
Driver of choice to give the NSX its first taste of the Eifel course was none other than former Italian GT champion and LMP1 works driver with Audi, Marco Bonanomi. Always happy to involve himself in the development of new cars, the Italian gladly accepted the offer from JAS to help them get a feel for the Nordschleife.
“It’s awesome to be back on the Nordschleife after a long time,” said Bonanomi.
“At the moment we’re just laying the groundwork, finding a good setup and checking some basic settings.
“I think it was a very positive day. In the morning it was very cold, so we had some issues with the tyres to warm up, but after that, everything was working well with the Dunlops.”
Although today was his maiden outing in the Honda NSX GT3, Bonanomi is already properly impressed by the joint Honda R&D, HPD and JAS-built race car.
“The NSX is a really cool car. It’s quite nice and comfortable to drive. That’s the aim at the moment. We checked some sectors and it looks really good.
“I see very good potential [for the NSX to be competitive at the Nordschleife]. Of course, you’ll need more track-time because this is a special track that requires a special setup. But immediately today, with just five hours of testing, we had a very good response. Every setup change we made sent us in the right direction.
“There’s for sure very good potential.”
Apart from the performance, Bonanomi is also enjoying the estethics of his car-for-the-day as well as the comfort the NSX offers.
“I like the lines of the car the best, for sure! I love the style, it’s pretty cool.
“It’s also very comfortable in driving: it’s quite balanced. It gives you confidence and that’s very important at a track like this.”
As the end of the day draws near, the Italian team starts packing up. Bonanomi says one last goodbye to his colleagues before he’s off to the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue where he’ll test another unique car: the ByKolles Racing ENSO CLM P1/01. They’ll leave before sunset as quietly as they arrived, not knowing yet when they’ll be back.
“We won’t do the race this weekend, this was just testing and preparing for us. We’ll see what is decided next.”
Photos by Miguel Bosch, Jean Frank and JP Wagner.