Acura Integra Type R From RealTime Racing Is Back on Track After Nearly Two Decades
This classic helped capture 23 wins and four manufacturers' titles for Acura at the turn of the millennium.
Anyone familiar with Honda or Acura motorsports will know the name RealTime Racing, an operation headed up by accomplished driver Peter Cunningham. The North American outfit led multiple series across the country, nabbing wins and overall titles in SCCA and the SPEED Touring Car Championship in Honda-built equipment. One of RealTime's most treasured race cars was a specially modified Acura Integra Type R that captured 23 race victories and four manufacturers' titles from 1997-2002, and now, that same machine has been restored to utterly perfect condition.
Initially, the RealTime Integra Type R wasn't that much different from the road-going version; only a few modifications like race-spec springs and shocks, a stripped interior, and mandatory safety equipment were installed for SPEED competition. Even the six-speed manual transmission is identical to the production car's, pairing to a B18C5 four-cylinder that revs all the way to 9,000 rpm. In essence, it was as close as you could get to a standard car that customers could buy while also dominating a nationwide championship.
“We knew from the start the Acura Integra Type R was a very special car,” said Cunningham, an SCCA Hall of Famer in his own right. “But now, after all these years, it’s achieved legendary status, and rightly so. I believe it’s still one of the best performing front-wheel-drive cars ever built.”
After watching the car sit for nearly 20 years, Cunningham decided it was time to bring the Acura back. This included stripping the Type R to its bare frame, refreshing nearly every nut and bolt to mimic its appearance when it entered the RealTime shop in 1997.
Upon completing the reclamation, Cunningham took the No. 42 Acura to Road America where it took part in a racing competition against similar-vintage Porsches and BMWs. It was able to qualify and finish fourth out of 60 entries in its return to the track, one that's admittedly suited for more powerful cars given its long, high-speed straights
“It was our first race back out with the Acura Integra Type R, and it was like we never skipped a beat. We had a great time,” said Cunningham after the checkered flag. “There were some 60 cars in our group and only a few vehicles in a class above beat us, so it was a great day for RealTime and Acura and great to have the Type R back on track.”
There's no official estimate of how much an example like RealTime's Type R would cost should it hit the auction block, but a stock road car with just 6,000 miles fetched a massive $82,000 in September. With that in mind, we'll let the pros handle these treasures and try to catch the next wave of Japanese collector cars before the bubble pops.