When a classic like this white '92 Acura NSX shows up to our Super Lap Battle wearing a widebody kit and a build quality that would look right at home on the SEMA show floor, you'd be hard pressed not to give it a second look. Don't worry, the Panter family is used to it by now, especially after one of their previous Time Attack cars, a '00 Acura Integra, made its way to SEMA a few years ago, not to mention that it also finished 28th out of a field of 92 at the '14 Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge. So who exactly are the Panters?
Kevin Panter is a blessed man, considering that his wife, Stephanie, isn't just tolerant of his hobby—she's the one who pushed to get an NSX. The two of them run a family business in the jewelry industry and their son, Rhett, has a two-car garage where they all work on projects together. You wouldn't think jewelry and cars have any parallels, but according to Rhett, "The attention to detail in the jewelry comes out in the car builds."
Hailing from Idaho, the Panters don't have a lot of options to drive fast, except at local autocross competitions. But their obsession with Time Attack started in '06 when they took their prized Subaru WRX STI to Miller Motorsports Park for a track day, some 250 miles away. "After autocross events, when you finally get on a road course, it's not the same," Kevin said. "You can't go back to cones in a parking lot." They never looked back after that moment.
Fast-forward a few years, and the white NSX you see here is actually the family's fourth NSX. Previously, the build was a red, single-turbo '04 model with a stroker kit that put 703 hp to the wheels. "It was a handful," Kevin said with a laugh. He and Rhett had been talking about racing an NSX, but with low miles and lots of records, it seemed like sacrilege to cut into the '04. So they sold it to free up some funds and started looking for a '91-'92 hardtop.
After passing up a handful of cars, they found one that appeared to be several serious steps down the road to becoming a competitive Time Attack car. They reached out to the seller in New Jersey and found out it was the ex-flagship car for ScienceofSpeed, one of the premier suppliers of OEM and go-fast parts for the NSX and the S2000. Once Kevin got a full buildsheet and some more background, he had it shipped to Idaho Falls.
They had to sort a few issues but were pleased with the amount of power the NSX was making. The car sports a Stage 1 3.0L block and Garrett GT28RS twin-turbo system from ScienceofSpeed, naturally. At 8 psi on 91-octane pump gas, it puts 416 hp to the wheels, but crank up the boost to 12.9 psi and throw some E85 in the tank and it puts down 525 hp. The NSX has a FlexFuel system, also from ScienceofSpeed, which wires a composition sensor into the fuel supply line, allowing the computer to adjust fuel, ignition, and boost on the fly depending on the percent of ethanol present. Kevin can just run it close to empty, fill the tank with E85, and the AEM Series 2 ECU does the rest.
Though increasing power would be easy, you'll see more lap time improvement by making the car handle and stick. To that end, it's been fitted with a whole slew of chassis components, from the Motor Motorsports two-way coilovers to Dali Racing sway bars. Since this was built by a family with an eye for detail born from their craft, function is on level ground with form. Just look at that engine bay. Impeccably finished, yet the orange dampening canisters for the rear shocks on either side of the engine bay are conveniently placed for quick trackside adjustments.
The body kit is a Cantrell Studios carbon-fiber/Nomex honeycomb widebody kit, which not only helps drop some weight, but it allows Rhett to fit wider wheels and rubber without taking a bat to the fenders. The extra clearance allowed Rhett to fit a staggered set of Volk Racing RE30 wheels wrapped in sticky Toyo R888R rubber.
The NSX gets regular track time at Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly Miller Motorsports Park) and has been reliable since they've started racing it. It can hit 170 mph on the front straight, which is more than enough speed for its current Time Attack class. The only part failure so far has been a broken stock axle at our SLB '17. Both axles have been subsequently upgraded to Insane Shafts 1,000hp units.
What's next? Kevin said he's going to go wider on the front and rear wheels. Rhett, a skilled welder, will also be welding up a full titanium exhaust for the NSX. When we asked if he planned to put that stroker motor in, he laughed. "That made 703 hp with a single turbo, so the twin-turbo setup on the NSX now would make even more power." He pointed out that the engine's internals were a limiting factor for much more power and added, "I might build something more radical for it."