Acura and Team Penske unveiled the ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international race car at the Quail today and announced plans to take it racing next year. Acura and Team Penske will campaign two of the high-tech cars in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship beginning with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
The new race car is based on the successful Oreca 07 chassis with a body that includes design flourishes by Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles. The powertrain will be the production-based 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo that Acura says is “based on” the same 3.5-liter V6 found in the Acura RDX, TLX and the recently redesigned RLX.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron are confirmed to drive one of the cars at Daytona, but the second car’s pilots have yet to be named.
The deal with Team Penske, to be administered by Honda Performance Development, is for several years, and Roger Penske said he wants to eventually go to Le Mans.
“This is just huge to have Mr. Penske,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager for the Acura division.
Penske introduces ARX-05
Penske said he has wanted to get back into prototype racing “for the last four to five years.”
“We’ve talked to different manufacturers,” he said. “We’ve been in talks with Honda for the last six to eight months. What we liked about it was the engine; the drivetrain is a known product.”
Penske said there was a lot of work to be done between now and Jan. 27, when the green flag drops at Daytona.
“We’ve got to do a lot of testing,” he said. “Test, test, test — we’ve got to wear it out.”
The most obvious visual difference between the Oreca and Acura version of the car is the LED headlights and the large, V-shaped surface on the nose joining the front wheel fenders.
“It was originally much larger,” said Dave Marek, Acura global creative director.
The surface is fully functional, Marek said.
Penske, who counts six Acura stores among his dealership empire, is also a firm believer that racing sells cars.
“We built our whole business on motorsports,” he said.
We’ll know by the end of January whether the new Acura will win on Sunday.