Honda has been left somewhat red-faced after the Porsche 911 GT3 it purchased to benchmark the handling of its NSX hybrid supercar let slip the Japanese firm’s rogue intentions to Stuttgart.
With the Porsche 911 GT3 acknowledged as one of the best-steering supercars available, Acura (Honda’s American arm) vehicle dynamics project leader Nick Robinson told Automotive News the firm acquired one of its competitors to assess the steering set-up as part of the NSX’s development process.
It’s not unusual for a firm to purchase a fleet of rivals in order to gauge development of a future model, but one of those cars inadvertently notifying the rival company what it’s being used for, is.
But probably more unusual is the fun Porsche then went and had with its newly-acquired data.
It was a safety recall issued to address a glitch with the steering connecting rods which, when data from the car’s black box was downloaded, led Porsche to the realisation of the Honda development team’s ownership.
And it was a message written on the underside of an engine cover when the Porsche was returned to Robinson which revealed the Porsche technicians’ sense of humour.
“Good luck, Honda, from Porsche. See you on the other side,” it read.
Robinson also revealed a similar scenario almost occurred with a McLaren 12C acquired for the same benchmarking reasons as the Porsche.
Following a routine service – where data stored on the car’s black box was transferred to the dealer’s system – the dealer questioned the team’s representative on some of the data they uncovered.
The McLaren boffins, unlike Porsche however, didn’t connect the dots. As Robinson told Automotive News: “They wanted to know, where did you go 205mph [330km/h], what track?”