F1 driver took Spanish media for thrill rides around Portugal’s Estoril circuit.

Formula 1 drivers clearly have an affinity for the Acura NSX. The late Ayrton Senna was instrumental in developing the first iteration of the car, and now McLaren Honda driver Fernando Alonso strapped behind the wheel for some hot laps in the new hybrid version.

At an event for Spanish media in Portugal, Alonso gave thrill rides in the new Acura NSX (badged as a Honda because they’re European-spec cars). While you might think a road-going car would be boring for a Formula 1 racer, Alonso told attendees the opposite.

“Driving the NSX is softer and sweeter than an F1 car because you are not searching for every little fraction of an inch, as you do in races,” he said in a statement. “It is like the difference between artistic drawing and technical drawing.”

The 2017 Acura NSX, which starts at $156,000 in the U.S., offers a total of 573 horsepower from its hybrid powertrain. A 3.5-liter biturbo V6 engine, a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission, and a trio of electric motors work together to provide all-wheel drive with torque vectoring. The first European deliveries begin this fall.

Alonso, for his part, is currently 14th in the 2016 Formula 1 driver rankings, one position ahead of McLaren Honda teammate Jenson Button.

Source: Honda

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McLaren Honda driver Fernando Alonso puts new Honda NSX through its paces at Circuito Estoril

  • McLaren Honda star Fernando Alonso takes to the wheel of Honda’s new NSX at historic Estoril circuit in Portugal
  • Spanish media experience exclusive ‘ride along’ with Alonso as part of its European launch activities
  • Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna, who was involved in the development of the original NSX over 25 years ago, took his maiden win at the Portuguese circuit
  • New NSX features a 3.5-litre V6 twin turbo, three motor hybrid power unit coupled to a nine-speed DCT gearbox, manufactured at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Centre (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio
  • Order books are open for NSX across Europe, with deliveries starting this autumn

Star of McLaren Honda Formula 1 team Fernando Alonso took a break from racing to take the wheel of Honda’s new NSX hybrid sports car.

In an exclusive event for Spanish media, Fernando Alonso took the NSX on the historic Estoril circuit (Lisbon, Portugal), giving journalists the chance to ride along with the double world champion.

During the post-drive press conference, Fernando commented, “In terms of driving what really has surprised me are the brakes, the feelings are not so far from what we feel driving in F1.”. He added, "Driving the NSX is softer and sweeter than an F1 car because you are not searching for every little fraction of an inch, as you do in races. It is like the difference between artistic drawing and technical drawing".

The venue of Estoril was a poignant one, due to its strong link with Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna. Senna took his maiden grand prix victory at the track in 1985, and was strongly involved in the development and launch of Honda’s original NSX during the late 1980s. The track has been a happy hunting ground for other Honda powered racers, both on four wheels and two.

Honda's hybrid sports car features a new longitudinally mounted, twin-turbo, six-cylinder DOHC engine, combined with dual clutch transmission (DCT) and nine speeds, developed specifically for this model. A rear Direct Drive Motor, housed between the engine and gearbox, enhances performance during acceleration, braking and gear changes. In addition, the front wheels of the NSX are powered independently by two parallel high-performance electric motors, which provide instant torque. The combined power unit has a maximum output of 581 hp.

The NSX is manufactured exclusively at the Honda Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio (United States), where 100 production experts are responsible for manufacturing the full bodywork, paintwork and final assembly.

European order books opened in April this year, with the first deliveries commencing from autumn.