Acura plans prototype racing return in 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Teaser for 2018 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi race car

Teaser for 2018 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi race car

Acura is joining forces with Team Penske to field a prototype effort in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The automaker already competes in the series’ GT Daytona (GTD) class with the NSX GT3, but now it’s ready to step up to the premier Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class where it will go up against rival automakers Cadillac and Nissan.

Acura’s DPi race car is the ARX-05, short for Acura Racing eXperimental, generation 5. It was teased on Tuesday ahead of a formal unveiling on August 18 at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, one of the events of 2017 Monterey Car Week. The car will then appear at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance also taking place during Monterey Car Week.

Acura says the ARX-05 is based on an Oreca 07 chassis and wears a body shaped by a new, expressive design language. Power, meanwhile, comes from a slightly modified version of the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 found in the NSX supercar.

As mentioned above, the ARX-05 is the latest in a line of prototype race cars to be fielded by Acura since 1991—just five years after the brand was established. Previous achievements include the 1991-93 IMSA Camel Lights manufacturer and driver championships; 50 IMSA and American Le Mans Series class or overall race victories [through Watkins Glen 2017]; and the 2009 American Le Mans Series manufacturer, driver and team championships in both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes.

Following the reveal of the ARX-05 in Monterey, engineers will start an exhaustive testing program. The first race will be the season opener of the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the 24 Hours of Daytona. Team Penske will field two of the cars and will announce the driver lineup at a later date.

“Roger Penske is already an important part of the Acura family as one of our great Acura dealers, and now it is a thrill to have him as part of the Acura Motorsports family as well,” Acura boss Jon Ikeda said in a statement.  “We look forward to building on the success of the race-winning NSX GT3 program, and couldn’t be more thrilled to return to the prototype category of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a partner like Team Penske.”

Monterey Car Week this year runs from August 15-21. For more coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

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