In 1986, Honda Motor Co. of Japan started producing the Acura line of cars for several markets, including the U.S., becoming the first of three Japanese manufacturers to launch separate luxury brands. The first Acura models—the Legend, Integra, and especially the avant-garde NSX—set the tone for the new brand, with a dual emphasis on luxury and performance. The late Formula One champion Ayrton Senna consulted on the NSX's suspension and chassis tuning, and the result was both a stunning performer and suitable for everyday street driving. Acura also produced some very desirable special models with an extra emphasis on performance. The 195 horsepower Integra Type R features a race-tuned suspension, high-performance tires, powerful brakes, and special seats. The NSX-R, introduced in 1992 for Japan and Europe and updated in 2002, is a lightened version of this already super car. Its 290 horsepower V6, aggressive suspension, and improved aerodynamics allow it to compete successfully against more powerful cars. Recently, Acura waged a spirited battle with Penske Racing Porsches in the 2008 American Le Mans Series and claimed six class wins. By season's end, Acura trailed Porsche in the LMP2 Manufacturer's Championship by only a single point. In 2009, Acura stepped up to the top-level LMP1 class, with two teams racing in the ARX-02a, the most advanced Acura to date.

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