RealTime Racing Integra Type R Returns to Racing
We knew from the start the Acura Integra Type R was a very special car.
One of the most iconic touring cars of the late 1990s is back. The Integra Type R run by RealTime Racing in the Speed (remember them?) Touring Car Championship has returned to its 9,000 rpm glory and gone vintage racing.
RealTime Racing is best-known for its white and orange liveries and for entering Hondas and Acuras in series around North America. The team was started in 1987 by Peter Cunningham, a driver who moved up from the SCCA Nationals to pro racing for American Honda. Running an Integra GS-R in rallying and a CRX Si on pavement.
In 1997, the team moved from a Honda Prelude to an Acura Integra Type R entered in the Speed Touring Car Championship, sponsored by the then-great and now-gone racing network Speedvision. This was a factory-supported effort using the Type R in a nearly-stock racing series. That meant the Type R’s B18C5 engine was largely stock, revving to 9,000 instead of the original 8,400. Apart from safety changes like a roll cage and a stripped-out interior, team principal Cunningham said that RealTime “changed the springs and shocks, and that was about it.”
The car was nearly unstoppable, winning the series championship in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2002, with driver Pierre Kleinubing taking three of those, Cunningham taking one, and Michael Galati the other. There were also 23 wins in that time.
“We knew from the start the Acura Integra Type R was a very special car,” said Cunningham. “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.”
But the cars were retired from racing after 2002, and had largely disappeared. One of the cars was just brought back to the team for them to do a complete restoration. Bare metal for some panel replacement, a mechanical refresh, and a respray in the original livery.
Then it was time to bring the RealTime ITR back to the track, entering the WeatherTech International Challenge at Road America, a weekend of vintage racing. And while it’s hard to look at anything from 2002 as vintage, by racing standards it’s an antique.
The Integra qualified fourth out of more than 60 cars for its inaugural vintage outing, with just some faster-classed cars ahead. It finished in that fourth spot, Acura said, a fitting return for a very special model from Acura.