Video: 2018 Penske-Acura Prototype Breaks Cover
New prototype-style race car will run with one of the world’s most successful teams and should be competitive right away in 2018.
Team Penske recently announced their partnership with Acura for a 2018 sports car program. That car, dubbed the ARX-05, will race in IMSA’s WeatherTech Sportscar Championship next year. Earlier this week, Acura gave the first glimpses of the ARX-05.
Penske will campaign two ARX-05s in IMSA’s Prototype class as Daytona Prototype Internationals (DPi). As such, they will run on an existing LMP2 platform. Built on the Oreca 07, the Acuras will sport branded bodywork and engines. The styling follows Acura’s “beak” style design with a two-tier pointed nose.
Honda’s go-to race engine, the AR35TT, will power the race cars. That engine is based on the production-car Honda J-Series architecture and, to date, the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 has proven durable and powerful enough to compete.
In the DPi class, the Penske-Acura program will square off with some heavy hitters. General Motors powers three of their Cadillac DPi, which have won all but one race so far this year. Extreme Speed Motorsports’ Nissan DPi won the other race. That ESM car’s Nissan GT-R GT3 engine matches up well with the Honda powerplant. Mazda also terminated their current program. Instead, they will turn over their 2018 program to Joest Racing, who only won the 24 Hours of Le Mans more than a dozen times with Audi.
However, Team Penske has demonstrated repeatedly that they set the industry standard wherever they race. They’ve racked up IndyCar championships for decades while also building a strong NASCAR program. More recently, Penske has turned a partnership with Australia’s Dick Johnson Racing into a championship-leading Virgin Supercars Championship program.
That should make for a strong opening salvo in a very strong class in 2018. We won’t be surprised if Penske turns up with a competitive car out of the box.
Acura Global Creative Director Dave Marek has a feeling that will be the case when the car debuts at the Rolex 24 in January 2018: “I want us to show up at Daytona and [other teams[ just go, ‘Uh oh.’”