Acura and Team Penske will campaign two cars next season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship, starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. ARX is short for Acura Racing eXperimental, generation five.
The car will run a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine that's based on the J35 series six-cylinder used throughout Acura's lineup. The body, designed by Acura global creative director Dave Marek's team, uses design cues from the company's road cars, including similar headlights. The chassis is based on the Oreca 07 setup. "We're already testing, and things are looking pretty good," said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development and Acura Motorsports.
Acura has raced endurance cars since 1991, finding success in IMSA and the former American Le Mans series. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron will drive one of the cars, while the other team to be announced later. Acura will face off against Nissan, Cadillac, Mazda, Oreca, Dallara and Multimatic Riley in the IMSA prototype field.
The venture marks a return to sports-car competition for Penske, whose organization ran a Chevy Corvette in its first race at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona and then operated victorious ALMS programs into the 2000s. Penske sees racing as a way to raise the image of Acura, whose cars he sells at his dealerships, Penske Automotive Group. "We want to take this brand to the next level," he said.
"It's [racing] a core part of our brand and it's one of the ways we are validating our performance," said Acura vice president and general manager Jon Ikeda.
After The Quail, the ZRX-05 is scheduled to appear at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and in a featured area for concept and racing cars on the lawn at the Concours.