- Honda NSX turns 25 with massive Silverstone parade
- The mid-engined two-seater that redefined the supercar
- Record number of NSXs to mark quarter century
- Japanese cavalcade also marks key Mazda, Nissan and Toyota milestones
It’s not just the Silverstone Classic that will be celebrating its Silver Jubilee at this summer’s special staging of the World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival (24-26 July) – it is also 25 years since Honda launched its game-changing NSX.
Back in 1990, two-seater mid-engined sports cars typically were Italian, highly-tuned and temperamental. The NSX, though, refined what a supercar could be – it was user-friendly, ultra-reliable and didn’t cost a small fortune to service.
Taking its name from the words New, Sportscar and eXperimental, the revolutionary NSX was technically advanced, too. It was the first production car to feature a weight-saving all-aluminium monocoque body and was propelled by a high-revving VTEC V6 all-aluminium engine mounted amidships and powering the rear wheels as the genre demanded.
While the Honda badge may not quite have had the same lustre as those of Ferrari and Lamborghini, the Japanese company was running rings around both of its Italian rivals in F1 at that time.
Turn the clocks back 25 years and Ayrton Senna was en route to the second of his three World Championship titles – all secured with McLaren-Honda. Indeed, the legendary Brazilian was also involved in the initial testing of the NSX at the Suzuka GP circuit in Japan and later in working with the company’s engineers on the finalisation of the suspension and handling set-up.
The late triple champion’s nephew, Bruno Senna, has strong memories of his uncle’s involvement in the project. Speaking after reacquainting himself with an NSX at last year’s CarFest, he enthused: “It is special for many reasons. It’s the car that Ayrton helped Honda to develop, so it’s always a real pleasure to drive something that he played such a major role in.
“It’s also the first fast road car I ever drove, in Portugal sitting on Ayrton’s lap when I was just a kid; he was controlling the pedals and gears while I was steering! It was just great fun and the first time I’d ever had a thrill like that, so the NSX always brings back some fantastic memories.”
Boasting such an incredible pedigree – and with Honda poised to launch an all-new NSX – the original has become a bona-fide classic, so it’s no surprise that the NSX Club Britain is expecting a record turn-out of more than 60 models for its special Silver Jubilee track parade at the Silverstone Classic.
Indeed, the Saturday lunchtime cavalcades will be given over to Japanese sports cars. As well as the notable NSX celebrations, there will be 300 MX-5s celebrating the 25th anniversary of the UK launch of the iconic Mazda two-seater plus parades marking important milestones for the Toyota MR2 Mk 1 (30 years), Nissan Skyline GTR and Nissan Sunny/Pulsar GTI-R (both 25 years).
These anniversaries are just three of more than 30 that will be honoured at this year’s Silverstone Classic. A record number of 120 clubs have already registered for dedicated in-field displays, suggesting last year’s record of 9000 privately-owned classics on show will be surpassed in July.
Additional clubs – representing both classic cars and bikes – have until 31 May to be part of this massive festival. Registration is via an official form that can be found here. Members of registered clubs can then use a dedicated booking code when buying tickets.
General admission tickets give access to all pits, paddock and infield displays as well as trackside grandstands and the majority of the family entertainment including funfair rides and the live music concerts. Full ticket details (which must be purchased in advance) – together with hospitality packages and weekend festival camping – can be found on the official www.silverstoneclassic.com website.