Acura Soldier On at Targa

Canadian Forces veterans Jody Mitic and Andrew Knisley

Acura Dealers Put ‘Awesome’ Wheels Under Soldier On Targa Rally Entry
Two Disabled Canadian Forces Veterans to Compete in Five-Day Event; Objective by Team is to Raise $150,000 for ‘Soldier On Fund’

CALABOGIE, Ontario (September 2, 2010) – A fully prepared Acura TL performance sedan that will carry a team of Canadian Forces veterans injured in the war in Afghanistan on their quest to raise funds and spread awareness for the Soldier On program for wounded soldiers got its initial test here this week, and its team of drivers said the car was “awesome.”

The Acura TL SH-AWD is entered in the 9th annual Targa Newfoundland international rally, with drivers Master Corporal Jody Mitic and Corporal Andrew Knisley behind the wheel. The car has been provided through the support of the Acura Dealers of Canada.

The rally starts on Sunday, September 12, 2010, in St. John’s.

Mitic and Knisley will share driving and navigating duties for the grueling week-long, 2,000+ kilometre motorsport event. The team’s objective is to raise $150,000 in donations to the Soldier On Fund by completing Canada’s longest and toughest motorsport event.

“In the initial tests on the track, the car exceeded our expectations,” said team manager Major General (Ret’d) Lewis MacKenzie. The car underwent its first testing at Calabogie Motorsport Park, near Ottawa.

“It was awesome!” added Knisley.

Both Mitic and Knisley suffered devastating injuries in combat in Afghanistan. Their remarkable recovery has been aided by the Soldier On Fund, a trust fund of the Canadian Forces established to improve the quality of life of ill and injured soldiers through active participation and peer interaction in fitness and sports.

The Acura TL SH-AWD is equipped with an automatic transmission that can be controlled by paddle shifters and has been constructed to permit both men relatively easy access to the cockpit. Mitic lost both legs below the knee to a land mine in 2007; Knisley’s right leg was destroyed below the hip by an improvised explosive device in 2009. Both men have prosthetic lower limbs.

The car will carry the livery of the Acura Dealers of Canada, and technical support is being provided by Honda Canada. Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. and Motegi Racing Wheels have provided product support.

“The Acura TL SH-AWD starts with a number of advantages that make it ideally suited for this project, beginning with the Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system,” explains Jerry Chenkin, executive vice president of Honda Canada Inc. “Faced with every kind of driving challenge – from tight and twisty roads to fast open stages, over every kind of road surface – Acura’s SH-AWD system offers both performance and security. We believe that will be an ideal combination for the two drivers.”

The innovative SH-AWD system manages the power from the 3.7-litre 24-valve SOHC V6 engine to provide front-rear torque distribution control with independently regulated torque distribution to the left and right rear wheels. The system automatically distributes the optimum amount of torque to all four wheels in accordance with driving conditions. The result is drastically improved handling with reduced understeer and better balance.

During spirited cornering, SH-AWD seamlessly distributes more torque to the outside rear wheel to help the TL turn in more quickly and precisely, while also continuously apportioning drivetrain torque front to rear and also left to right. The result is a remarkably balanced and precise all-wheel-drive performance sedan ideally suited for some of the rough and wet road conditions often encountered in Targa Newfoundland.

“For first-time Targa competitors, this system should offer a level of security in wet or slippery conditions, and better performance in the dry,” said Chenkin. The car is also equipped with Acura’s Co-Operative Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) stability control system as well as traction control.

MacKenzie confirmed the SH-AWD system was put to the test in lapping the Calabogie circuit, which included driving in rain. “What was most impressive for our crew was the car’s ability to recover in a corner at speeds that might otherwise have put the car off the road,” he said.

The steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters that control the automatic transmission in the Acura TL SH-AWD will also simplify the driving challenge for the two drivers.

Mitic and Knisley will have to get along without the car’s amazing Acura/ELS Surround 440-watt premium audio system, Acura Navigation System and rear-view camera parking aid – features that were sacrificed to make way for the custom-made roll cage designed to protect the team in the case of an incident.

With 305 horsepower, upgraded brakes and stabilizer bars, and Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires on Motegi Rally rims, the Soldier On Acura is expected to be a capable competitor in the Modern Division of the Targa competition.

The 9th annual Targa Newfoundland will start in St. John’s on Sunday, September 12, 2010, and end back in the capital on Saturday, September 18. The competition will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including up to 450 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.

Acura is the luxury-performance division of Honda Canada Inc.  Seven distinct vehicles (CSX, TSX, TL, RL, RDX, MDX and ZDX) are marketed under the Acura brand.  The Acura ZDX, MDX and CSX are built at the Honda of Canada Mfg. assembly facility in Alliston, Ontario.

For more information, contact:
Honda Canada Inc.
Richard Jacobs
Manager, Public Relations
Ph: 905.888.4102 
Email:  [email protected]
MacDonald & Co.
Susan MacDonald
Ph: 613.966.4969 
Email:  [email protected]


Acura Soldier On at Targa Newfoundland

[Source: Honda Canada]

2 comments on “Acura Soldier On at Targa

  1. Jordan M

    I remember seeing this race on TV once, the route is long with beautiful scenery. I wonder how the TL will stack up against all those Porsches. Im sure the SH AWD will prove useful on those rugged canadian roads.


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