Amir Bentatou’s K-swapped NSX: big power, little weight

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Jun 1, 2023 | Acura, gridlife, Acura NSX, NATA, NATA Championship, Global Time Attack, Amir Bentatou

@mcv_imagery/Global Time Attack

What do you get with a car that weighs 2150 pounds and has 700 horsepower? A whole heck of a lot of fun, according to Amir Bentatou. He drove his K-swapped 1991 Acura NSX to a third-place finish during the first round of the NATA Championship. It took place in February during Global Time Attack’s Super Lap Battle at the Circuit of The Americas.

[First round of the NATA Championship results]

I’m quite anal about weight,” said Bentatou, iterating a huge understatement. “We’ve essentially cut off the car at the rear shock towers and front pickup points. We’ve switched anything out that’s nonessential chassis-wise, where rules allow us, with Docol tubing. All the charge piping, exhaust piping, wastegate dumps are titanium. We’ve started to replace all our hardware with titanium.”

Under the hood, the 1991 Acura NSX sports a K20 engine that produces 700 horses. So, what’s it like to race a high-horsepower, lightweight machine?

It’s a very hard car to drive, but it’s incredibly satisfying when you get it right,” said Bentatou. “When the car snaps, it’s incredibly violent–you can’t catch it. As far as [setup] philosophy … I take what the car is really good at and try to maximize it. Our setup is focused on longitudinal acceleration and deceleration rather than cornering grip.

We’re gear-limited to 170 mph. At CoTA, it’s at 170 mph for 4 seconds. I’ve been fortunate to drive a lot of fast cars, and it’s probably the quickest I’ve ever driven in a straight line.”

Amir Bentatou said he’s back to work on making his car even faster. While his NSX won’t make the next round of the NATA championship, you can catch many other fast cars there.

Round two takes place June 2-4 during Gridlife Midwest at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan.

What exactly is NATA? The North American Time Attack Council Championship presented by Grassroots Motorsports simplifies time trials by presenting a format that lets drivers easily collect points in participating events across Global Time Attack, Gridlife and SCCA Time Trials.

[Introducing the NATA Championship presented by Grassroots Motorsports]

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kb58
kb58 UltraDork
6/1/23 11:21 a.m.

I can't help but picture two NSX cars on Bring A Trailer. One heavily modified with the engine swapped, and the other dead stock. Which one gets much higher bids? I get it, that's not the point, but it also can't be ignored, though I suppose if you do such things, perhaps there's financial backing such that it just doesn't matter.

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/1/23 11:28 a.m.

Reminds me of the MK4 TOM'S Supras that run 3SGTE engines in JGTC.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/1/23 12:13 p.m.
kb58 said:

I can't help but picture two NSX cars on Bring A Trailer. One heavily modified with the engine swapped, and the other dead stock. Which one gets much higher bids? I get it, that's not the point, but it also can't be ignored, though I suppose if you do such things, perhaps there's financial backing such that it just doesn't matter.

BAT prices are for the top few percent of the market, and builds like this usually don't start with those kinds of cars.  There are usually lots of examples that have been crashed and repaired, or got caged and turned into race cars a long time ago before the prices went stratospheric.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Dork
6/1/23 12:48 p.m.

The mention of the 3S reminds me of DavidV's MR2/SW20 - fully built time attack car making plenty of HP, lots of aero...a really well built vehicle.

Went up for auction - 18k is all it mustered. Then you see a stock turbo go for 30k+

The stock car will likely always come out higher on the bids. 

Slippery
Slippery GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/1/23 12:55 p.m.

In reply to hybridmomentspass :

One car you can only drive it occasionally, the other you can daily + the future pool of buyers will be greater at sell time.  

mr2peak
mr2peak Dork
6/1/23 2:56 p.m.
hybridmomentspass said:

The mention of the 3S reminds me of DavidV's MR2/SW20 - fully built time attack car making plenty of HP, lots of aero...a really well built vehicle.

Went up for auction - 18k is all it mustered. Then you see a stock turbo go for 30k+

The stock car will likely always come out higher on the bids. 

A nicely modded single turbo FD went for strong money a few weeks ago. Good clean build.

A full-on race car, without a strong historic winning history, will always struggle. Race cars get used up, will likely need a full refresh, and you will be spending money on gas and tires and entry fees and probably will need updated safety gear and other changes to stay class legal and/or competitive. There's an ass for every seat, but only when there are more asses than seats..

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/1/23 3:59 p.m.

Holy turbo-lag, Batman! I'd like to see the dyno chart on that one. 350 HP/Liter is ordinarily the sort of thing you hear from Koenigsegg or from dyno queens with life spans measured in the minutes.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/1/23 4:34 p.m.

I think these guys still have the world record for fastest NSX, also K-swapped.

 

DocRob
DocRob Reader
6/1/23 8:51 p.m.

There are already plenty of NSXs stored in plastic bubbles for future people to stare at and never drive.

When he decides to sell it, there will be a buyer. Maybe even me. It won't bring what a pristine bubbled NSX brings and that's just fine. Better, in fact.

Does need more TE37 tho...

DaleCarter
DaleCarter GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/2/23 12:11 a.m.

In reply to DocRob :

I'm with you. Please don;t bid against me :-)

 

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/2/23 9:36 a.m.

In reply to kb58 :

Not everyone builds cars with the intent of selling it or for its future value. Some people get value out of enjoying the car vs saving it for the next guy. I myself would never buy a car that I'm trying to keep for the next guy, I always expect to lose money if I find myself ready to sell a car. 

DocRob
DocRob Reader
6/2/23 10:58 a.m.

In reply to yupididit :

I also look at it like this. One that has been cut and welded on already can be cut and welded on again. Which makes it more attractive to many people, myself included. If I crack it up? Who cares? It wasn't pristine, just sheet metal and carbon fiber. Someone already did the hard part...making the first cut. 

I'm at that stage with my build right now. I've been making floor pans and panels and I'm just about there to weld them in. Which means cutting the old ones out. Pragmatically, the existing floors are rusted out hunks of E36 M3 that have to go, but emotionally taking a cut-off wheel to my 60-year old car and doing it gives me pause. Soon, I'll muster up the courage and do it and once the first cut is made, I won't look back. But that first cut...

To paraphase Rod Stewart (or Sheryl Crow, you pick) - 'The first cut is the hardest...'

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/2/23 11:07 a.m.

In reply to yupididit :

Yep. I build what I call crazy cars (although on this forum they wouldn't generally be considered crazy at all). If I were suddenly rich I'd still build crazy cars, but instead of Subarus, Fiats, Chevys and such I'd be getting crazy with more expensive ingredients. Resale value would be way down the list.

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