Track Experiences-European NSX Trophy Series

European Trophy, Rounds 5 & 6 at Spa-Francorchamps
The NSX Days at Spa last weekend were spectacular in every sense of the word. 380 guests from 10 countries enjoyed the entourage of this wonderful race track in the Belgian Ardenn. Including Mike Duncan who again flew in from Arizona. The good weather also drew many spectators, who were treated to some exciting racing.
The whole Saturday was reserved for free practice, and other cars than Honda could also take to the track. Like last year, many Ferrari and Porsche friends of the NSX club joined us for some quick laps. Some were practising their own Challenge cars, others driving modified street cars. In total there were over 150 cars active on track during the two days.
Chances of driving at Spa are few; part of the track is public road, closed only several weekends a year to form a circuit.
The whole event was well organized. With a hospitality tent in the paddock providing everybody with schedules, information, and any other assistance needed. Over the weekend we enjoyed wonderful lunches and a most exquisite
7-course gala diner.
On Sunday it got serious. Two races were scheduled, and after finishing 4th last year, my goal now was to get on the podium. The car performed well in practice. Brakes are most important, this season I’ve been using two piece AP rotors with blue Pagid semi carbon brake pads, and they’ve performed very well. From America I brought short gears, R&P and a new clutch – I considered those a secret weapon. All in all, prospects were good.
Meanwhile, my brother Alex was preparing for his first ever race. For this event we equipped his ’95 Prelude VTEC with more heat resistant brake rotor and Pagid pads, and adjusted the car’s yellow Konis to full stiffness. After practising all Saturday, he also was all set.
28 cars (Honda only) competing in 7 classes (NSX race, modified and standard, Integra Type-R race, modified and standard, and others) qualified for the first race. I started third in my class, halfway down the grid surrounded by modified Integra’s and NSX’s. Alex started a little more down the field, but still second in his class.
My start was good, a little wheelspin, but quick off the mark. Sadly, my competitors also took off well. After the La Source hairpin I passed the Type-R in front of me, went through the famous L’Eau Rouge turns fast and was able to pass the black modified NSX in front of me on the Kemel straight. Second place, YES!! The whole race I was battling with him and two heavily modified Integra’s. It was intense and hard work, but great fun. I held position and finished second in my class, eight overall. After driving a superb race, Alex also finished second in his class.
Grid positions of the second race were determent by the first race’s end result. More wheelspin at the start this time, but still a good one, and kept my second position. Halfway down the first lap however, I had club president Jean-Claud Zucker breathing down my neck, in his red modified ’97 coupe. I kept him at bay for several laps, but braked too late at Bus Stop and had to let him go by. Like a man reborn, he drove away into the distance. Well done, Jean-Claude! We’ll meet again at Le Castellet. Markus Fugel from Germany won both modified NSX class races. This man is in a class of his own, leaving us seconds a lap behind.
Belgium’s Didier Wuydts won both the Prototype NSX category (pure race cars) races in his spectacular orange/white/blue car. The quickest man of the weekend and always a joy to watch. Congratulations, Didier.
A fantastic NSX weekend at the track amongst good friends. It doesn’t get much better than this. Many thanks to Jean-Claude Zucker and the Swiss NSX club for organizing this wonderful event. And a big personal thank you to Mark Johnson and Randy Marchetti for getting me the Type-R parts and clutch.
Next and final two races of the season, Le Castellet on October 10.
Gus Toth
The Flying Dutchman