Team Speed at Long Beach Grand Prix: Acura Doubles the Awesomeness

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1991 Spice Acura Camel GTP Lights Prototype

Acura IMSA GTP & Integra: One is powered by an NSX, the other is the most dominant touring car to ever grace SCCA. 

The early Nineties were the swan song for Group C and its North American cousin, IMSA GTP. The late 1990s and early 2000s were a time of domination for a single make in the SCCA World Challenge touring car series.

Last weekend during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, California, Team Speed saw both eras represented in a single pair of cars among Acura’s big display: the 1991 Acura Camel GTP Lights Prototype campaigned by English engineering firm Spice Engineering, and the 1997 Acura Integra Type R used by Wisconsin-based RealTime Racing to dominate SCCA.

1991 Spice Acura Camel GTP Lights Prototype

The Spice Acura GTP was used by the company from 1991 through 1993, the final years of the GTP class in IMSA before the open-top World Sports Car category took its place in 1994. In those three seasons, though, the Spice Acura captured three consecutive manufacturer’s and driver’s championships in the outgoing class, along with wins at the 1991 and 1992 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 1993 12 Hours of Sebring.

1991 Spice Acura Camel GTP Lights Prototype

The amazing success for the Spice Acura can be attributed in part to its powerplant. Taking the adage ‘Race on Sunday, sell on Monday’ to heart, Acura dropped in a race-prepped version of the same 3.0-liter VTEC V6 used in the then-new first-gen NSX. The built-up powerplant made between 425 and 440 horses and around 275 lb-ft of torque, more than enough to take home a few trophies.

1991 Spice Acura Camel GTP Lights Prototype

The last years of IMSA GTP would not be the swan song for the Spice Acura, though, for it was restored in The New ’10s, then unveiled as Acura’s first-ever entry into the 2015 Monterey Sports Reunion at Laguna Seca, where it would place second behind the other dominant car in IMSA GTP, the Porsche 962.

RealTime Racing Acura Integra Type R

A few years after the Spice Acura was placed in storage, RealTime Racing swapped out its winning Honda Prelude Si for the Acura Integra Type R, beginning in 1997 with Pierre Kleinubing behind the wheel for that year’s SCCA World Challenge touring car series.

RealTime Racing Acura Integra Type R

From the first race of the 1997 season to its last in 2002, RealTime’s Integra Type R gave Acura four manufacturer’s championships, and four driver’s championships for Kleinubing, Michael Galati, and team founder Peter Cunningham.

RealTime Racing Acura Integra Type R

One of the winning cars is on display in Honda’s museum in Torrance, California, while the Integra Type R overall was the most dominant model in the series’ existence, having snagged more poles, wins, and championships than any other car before or since.

Photos for Team Speed by David Ciminelli

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Since launching her professional writing career nearly a decade ago as a fashion blogger, Cameron Aubernon has written for a handful of online and print publications on a wide variety of subjects, including expat issues, fashion, music, and, of course, the automotive industry. The automotive expert was even the editor-in-chief of a popular online lifestyle publication, where she reviewed luxury cars and interviewed fellow automotive enthusiasts.

A graduate of The Evergreen State College Class of 2005 with a bachelor's in liberal arts, Aubernon took a left turn from fashion writing into the automotive realm when she asked a fellow writer via Facebook if she could write for their site. Following an internship, stints with a couple of hyper-local online publications, and a move to Seattle, she made her then-biggest impact with The Truth About Cars, writing full-time for the publication from 2013 to 2015.

Currently, the highly-regarded automotive journalist is a frequent contributor to the high-traffic Internet Brands Auto Group websites Rennlist, Club Lexus, LS1Tech and Mustang Forums, among others.

Aubernon’s expert knowledge of all things Ford trucks has also made her a mainstay as one of the most prolific writers on Ford Truck Enthusiasts and F-150 Online.

Aubernon can be contacted via email at [email protected].

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