Acura held the public unveiling of its new ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) IMSA-spec race car during the 2017 Monterey Car Week, rolling the car out at The Quail. For everyone in attendance ahead of Sunday's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, it was an exciting moment not just for Acura but also for the renowned Team Penske and, perhaps most importantly, fans of American sports-car racing.
"Remember when we were here in Monterey two years ago?" Acura vice president and general manager John Ikeda asked Automobile at an exclusive preview event held the night before the car's public debut. "We had a couple of NSX [road car] prototypes running around. The road car was still in development. And now we have the NSX on sale and NSX GT3 race cars winning this year in the IMSA WeatherTech Series, and now a DPi car with Team Penske. We are pushing hard on performance."© Automobile Magazine Staff
Where Acura ultimately lands in the greater automotive landscape—of course driven by how consumers react to its latest moves—remains in question as it
steadily attempts to reinvigorate the marque, but there is no doubt the executives who run the company believe in well-performing street cars and the value of motorsports.
On the heels of a quickly improving NSX racing effort, this new DPi entry is slated to contest the entire 2018 IMSA schedule beginning with the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January. The two-car effort will be, >as announced previously
>as announced previously, run by Roger Penske's Team Penske operation, which needs no introduction to racing fans—or anyone even marginally aware of the Who's-Who of American racing.
Beneath the new skin, the car is an ORECA 07 LMP2-class chassis featuring bespoke Acura bodywork and "design features, including Acura's signature "jewel eye" headlights, powered by the AR35TT twin-turbocharged engine." This is the Honda Performance Development-created race version of the powerplant based on the production 3.5-liter V-6 found in most of Acura'sproduction models. Exact horsepower is a moving target in sports-car racing thanks to the Balance of Performance formula, but IMSA's rules dictate it should come in around 600 hp, give or take.© Automobile Magazine Staff
Team Penske earlier this week announced one of the team's two ARX-05 entries will be driven by seven-time Formula 1 race winner and 1999 CART IndyCar champion—and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner—Juan Pablo Montoya, who has also won sports-car and NASCAR races, along with sports-car champion Dane Cameron. The second driver pairing will be announced at a later date.
"I've never gotten so many calls from drivers [interested in a ride]," Penske joked during the reveal.
Earlier this racing season, rumors swirled that three-time Indy 500 winner and longtime Penske IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves was in line to switch to the sports-car program, but his strong running in the Verizon IndyCar Series this year may have given Penske and the former "Dancing with the Stars" champion second thoughts.