Penske will return to sportscar racing in 2018 with Acura’s new Daytona Prototype International in the IMSA Sportscar Championship.
Roger Penske’s legendary IndyCar and NASCAR team had made no secret of its plans to launch a new sportscar programme and it announced on Tuesday that this would take the form of a two-car team of Acura ARX-05 DPis.
Quite possibly the worst kept secret in racing became public Tuesday morning. Team Penske will field a factory DPi program next season in IMSA. Acura is teaming up with Penske in an attempt to knock the Cadillac’s off the top steps of the podium.
This is a lofty task for both Acura and Penske alike. Coming into a new series and winning right away isn’t something that happens all the time. Ford did it with the GT recently but they also pumped literal tons of money into that program. Porsche did it in LMP2 with Penske back in 2006, 2007 and 2008. We’ve seen it go the wrong way though too most recently with Nissan and their LMP1 program failure. Nissan also tried to reinvent the way race cars are designed, kind of killed themselves with that.
Acura has been successful with their GT program recently with Mike Shank Racing who still is looking for money from Sam Hornish. There is no reason they won’t be successful with Penske in the DPi program. However Team Penske will need to bring some strong contenders to pilot these two DPi’s to compete with the Taylor brothers and Wayne Taylor Racing.
Juan Montoya is rumored to be the driver most certainly headed to the DPi program. The F1, NASCAR and Indycar veteran appears to be headed to IMSA to lead up the Acura DPi program. A huge get for Acura since Montoya is already under contract at Penske. When Montoya tested a Porsche 919 a year ago he loved it, the DPi is a junior version of that. Montoya is going to wheel the hell out of this car.
Helio Castroneves is also rumored to be headed to IMSA next year. The three time Indy 500 champ and winner of last weeks Iowa 300 is 42 and approaching the age where you head to sports car racing. Team Penske didn’t want to talk about the rumors this weekend but where there is smoke there is always fire in Indycar.
As for the other drivers, who knows. They have three incredibly fast Indycar drivers, three Cup drivers who are all good on road courses. Those six guys should start getting ready for the Daytona 24 in January because they’ll be getting a call.
Will Penske switch from Chevy to Honda in Indycar to align with the Honda brands? There will be 4 spots open if Andretti switches to Chevy next season, just saying.
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