I really like the Honda HSV-010, which was Honda’s first, and so far only, foray into GT500 with something other than a Honda NSX.
It first came to the Super GT scene in 2010. It won first time out.
Under Weider Honda Racing, the Frenchman Loic Duval and Takashi Kogure, who has very bad teeth, beat out then reigning champions Petronas Toms in their SC430, driven by long time veteran Juichi Wakisaka and German Andre Lotterer, who is today at least unquestionably the best driver outside of F1. Even if he drives for Audi. Snob.
Weider Racing have managed to win at least one race every year since then, but other Honda teams weren’t lying down either. Indeed, Keihin Real Racing (see above right) lost out on the championship by 2 points this year to Zent Cerumo and their SC430.
Team Kunimitsu have been veterans in the Super GT stakes for a long while, sponsored by Raybrig in their super cool purple colours and bearing the number 100. Their first win in the category can date back to 1994, when Keiichi Tsuchiya and Kunimitsu Takahashi – the team owner – in a Porsche 993.
But no championships have followed for them despite all of this. Even this year a win in the first race of the series didn’t help. They ended up 10th.
The closest they’ve come is in 2006, where they lost the title by one agonising point, virtue of a non-finish at the final race, in the NSX that is actually represented in this game. Lotterer and Wakisaka won that as well, incidentally.
Of course, much of this is overwritten by the fact that their cars are purple.
The Raybrig NSX was first documented in its ’99 form in GT2, but it wasn’t till GT4 that I came to really like its purple colour. Truth be told, in GT4 compared to the faster Supras and GT-Rs, thanks to its physics engine, it was much slower. And as one of the ’00 models, even slower than that. But of course, I was able to get over this, because it is purple.
The ’06 version that was introduced into GT5 turned the tables completely. Fitting the eventual real-life brokenness of the NSX, in GT5 the three ’06 spec NSXs were the fastest Super GTs by far, even above the supposedly super fast GT-Rs. Unfortunately, the Raybrig NSX was blue this time for some reason. But it was still cool.
The HSV-010 only came in one form in GT5, and it came rather late. Though when it did I was a bit excited. By which I meant I celebrated its arrival with an entire party for it. Mostly because it was in the awesome Weider form bearing the #1 from 2011.
This time, two more have been added in addition to the base model and the anniversary edition, but these are 2012 models. The Keihin and Raybrig liveries, as seen in the pictures. And this time, I’m driving the Raybrig model.
And it really drives much the same as it did in GT5, which was beautifully.
The stability on offer in the HSV-010 is superb. You can very often push it very hard – and I suppose that’s why it’s a race car, so it can be raced to the absolute maximum! Though there wasn’t ever a road version of the HSV-010, sadly.
The sound is more tricky to judge. This comes down to several factors. The first being its real life sound, which really does have to be demonstrated for your benefit. Because it is excellent.
Superb. But when the HSV-010 was first implemented in GT5, they got it wrong. So it sounded like a GT by Citroen Race Car, which made for an odd feel in terms of speed. Because it felt too slow.
So, they fixed it. And I don’t mean ‘fixed it’ in the same way they ruined the FTO STC, IS F RC and others of its ilk. I mean, actually fixed it. And it’s still here.
Perhaps the most notable thing about it is it accurately models the difference between the onboard sound and the actual outer sound. If you find an onboard clip of the HSV-010, you will know what I’m talking about. However, while the onboard sound really does sound very good (though the onboard view will probably make you crash), the outer sound, while a good attempt, still feels a bit off. And it still feels too slow here too.
Even though actually, it would appear the HSV-010 is almost at odds with the ’06 NSXs speed in this game, making it among the fastest Super GTs. But the reason it feels so slow is because the gears are way too long compared to the other Super GTs.
The fact is though, its seemingly low speed is offset by the cornering speed it offers. It really is a superb thing to drive.
I do also have the Weider version to hand, me being the fan of it that I am. And it’s really about the same – using it in the Super GT500 Championship, it proves a very fast racer. I also have the 15th Anniversary Edition to hand, but that has almost 100hp on the normal models actually so reviewing that would not give a fair view of the other four HSV-010s.
It’s a very great shame that the HSV-010, as a car altogether, only lasted 4 years. Because with the new unity between DTM and Super GT regulations, the new NSX is now serving as the base for Honda’s challenge. I’ll remember it as my favourite GT500 racer.
And in GT6, you should too. The only difficulty it suffers from is you choosing which one to buy. I of course took the Weider, but the Keihin HSV looks minimalist and cool, the Anniversary Edition will be fastest if you have it available, and the Base Model can be numbered and coloured however you damn well want it.
But that’s all irrelevant. Because the Raybrig HSV-010 you see here is, of course, purple.