One of the most successful teams in American racing is returning to the category in which it made its debut in 1966.
Team Penske announced Tuesday that it’s joining forces with Acura to field two of the Japanese manufacturer’s yet-to-be-unveiled ARX-05 DPi racers in the United States-based series starting in 2018, according to Motorsport.com. Acura will join Cadillac, Mazda and Nissan as the fourth automaker in IMSA’s new-for-2017 DPi class.
“We are excited to join forces with the Honda Performance Development family and represent the Acura brand with two prototypes starting in 2018,” Roger Penske said, via Motorsport.com.
Although Penske hasn’t yet confirmed who will drive the two cars, it reportedly has teased the idea of putting Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel.
Montoya, a former Formula One driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, currently is a part-time driver for Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Colombian driver also has experience inside prototype racers, as he was invited to test the Porsche 919 Hybrid, which has won the last three runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at Bahrain International Circuit.
For Penske, getting his eponymous operation back into sports car racing reportedly has long been in the back of his mind.
“Reviving a Team Penske sports car program has always been a goal for us,” Penske said, “but to do so required strong and successful partners like Honda and Acura.”
Acura currently races NSX GT3 cars in IMSA’s GT Daytona category.
Many assume Honda would be a good choice for NASCAR, which is currently looking to add manufacturers, and Tuesday’s announcement makes that seem more plausible. Much like General Motors, Honda now will compete in IndyCar, one of IMSA’s GT classes and its DPi class — all that’s missing is a NASCAR operation.
Thumbnail photo via Honda