History of Acura
Acura is the luxury and performance division of Japanese automaker Honda, based primarily in North America. The brand was launched in the United States and Canada on March 27, 1986, marketing luxury and performance automobiles. It was introduced to Hong Kong in 1991 (lasting until 2009), Mexico in 2004, China in 2006 (until 2022), Russia in 2014, Kuwait in 2015, and was also sold in Ukraine (until 2018). Honda's plan to introduce Acura to the Japanese domestic market (JDM) in 2008 was delayed, due to economic reasons, and later withheld as a result of the financial crisis of 2007–2008.
Acura was the first luxury division established by a Japanese automaker. The creation of Acura coincided with the introduction of a JDM Honda dealership sales channel, called Honda Clio, which sold luxury vehicles, joining previously established Honda Verno, followed by Honda Primo the following year. In its first few years of existence, Acura was among the best-selling luxury marques in the US, outselling established brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Though sales were down in the mid-to-late 1990s, the brand experienced a revival in the early 2000s, due to drastic redesigns and the introductions of new models.
In the late 1980s, the success of the company's first flagship vehicle, the Legend, inspired fellow Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan to launch their own luxury brands, Lexus and Infiniti, respectively. The 1990 launch of the NSX, a mid-engine exotic sports car, offered a reliable and practical alternative to exotic European sports cars, and introduced Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system to the North American market. The 1993 Legend coupé featured Acura's first use of a six-speed manual transmission mated to a Type II engine. In the late 1990s, Acura produced a Type R version of its compact Integra, which featured a reduced curb weight, a stiffer and lower suspension, and a high-output VTEC engine.
In the early 2000s, Acura introduced new models, including the company's first all-original SUV, the MDX, and two models which replaced the Integra coupé and sedan, the RSX and TSX, respectively. Type-S versions of the RSX, CL, and TL were added to the brand's lineup during that decade. Acura's 2005 RL flagship introduced SH-AWD, a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. The 2007 RDX, a crossover SUV, featured the first North American use of a turbocharged Honda engine. A second generation NSX was launched in 2016 and features a twin-turbocharged mid-engine, a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission, and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD.
Acura Sport Victories and Racing
Almost since its inception, Acura has been involved in American motorsports, specifically in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and IMSA GT Championship series. Starting in 1991, Acura reached an agreement with Comptech Racing to use the V6 motor of the Acura NSX in Comptech's Camel Lights Spice prototype. Acura would go on to take the Lights championship in its initial year, including a class win at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Acura and Comptech would take the Lights championships again in 1992 and 1993, as well as another Daytona class win in 1992 and a class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring for 1993.
However a change in the IMSA rules would lead to the demise of the Camel Lights, and so Acura moved to touring car racing, joining Realtime Racing in the SCCA World Challenge with the NSX in 1996, winning the final two races of the season. In 1997, Acura added Acura Integras to the lower classes, and were successful in taking the championship in both of these classes. Realtime took the touring championship with the Integra again in 1998, and came within a few points of winning it again in 1999 only to lose it in the final race, then coming back to retake the title in 2000.