Acura Team Penske, Acura NSX GT3 Teams Ready for Rolex 24
- Two-car Penske effort marks Acura’s return to prototype competition
- Expanded Acura NSX GT3 program includes Michael Shank Racing, Honda of America Racing Team in GTD
- Twice-around-the-clock endurance classic opens the 2018 racing season on Saturday
TORRANCE, Calif. (January 22, 2018) – The return of Acura Motorsports to the prototype ranks and an expanded GTD effort highlight the company’s racing program as the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season kicks off this weekend with the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
Acura Team Penske and the Honda of America Racing Team (HART) join the race-winning Michael Shank Racing organization as the combined Acura Motorsports effort takes on the challenge of endurance sports car racing, competing with manufacturers from around the globe.
“Nothing gets your attention like starting off the season with the longest – and in many ways most difficult – race of the season!” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, the racing arm for Acura Motorsports. “We’re excited about the race debut for the new Acura Team Penske ARX-05 prototypes. The large prototype field includes both other manufacturer teams, and many strong independents. The competition will be fierce, but our goal is always to compete, and win, at the highest level of the sport. The Rolex 24 marks Acura’s return to prototype racing, and we can’t wait for the green flag on Saturday.
“In addition, our Acura NSX GT3 program made huge strides last year, with the Michael Shank team winning twice, and becoming regular contenders for victory throughout the second half of the season. With the HART team joining for 2018, we are adding firepower to our GTD effort in another category full of teams representing some of the finest sports car manufacturers in the world.”
Acura Team Penske
The combination of Acura Motorsports and Team Penske brings together a pair of organizations with a long history of success in sports car racing under the Acura Team Penske umbrella. The Acura ARX-05 is the latest in a line of endurance prototypes to be fielded by the company, dating back to 1991, just five years after the 1986 launch of the Acura brand. Based on the very successful ORECA 07 chassis, the new ARX-05 prototype features Acura-specific bodywork and utilizes the race-proven, production-based Acura AR35TT twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine.
The six drivers sharing Penske’s two Acura ARX-05 prototypes – Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Dane Cameron, Ricky Taylor, Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal – account for five Rolex 24 overall victories, three WeatherTech Championship titles, five Indianapolis 500 wins, two IndyCar Series championships, and seven Formula One trophies.
Acura NSX GT3 Teams
Michael Shank Racing returns with its pair of NSX GT3s seeking to add to the victory total for the Acura supercar, as well as following up the team’s overall Rolex 24 triumph in 2012 with a victory in the GTD category. The two-car MSR effort includes a stellar lineup of proven winners, including Katherine Legge, Lawson Aschenbach, Alvaro Parente, Justin Marks, Trent Hindman, Mario Farnbacher, A.J. Allmendinger and Come Ledogar.
Made up primarily of Honda associates, including driver Chad Gilsinger, HART moves up from the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge to the GTD ranks at the Rolex 24, joined by another trio of race-winning veterans: Ryan Eversley, Sean Rayhall and John Falb.
Where to watch the Rolex 24
Television coverage of the Rolex 24 begins at 2 p.m. EST Friday on the Fox Network, shifting over to FS2 from 5-10 p.m. Nighttime coverage will be found on FS1 from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday morning. Live television coverage resumes on FS2 from 8-10:30 a.m, then moves to FS1 for the final four hours.
The entire race will be streamed live on Fox Sports GO, with FS1 authentication. Fans can also listen in to audio commentary via IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and Sirius XM Radio; and follow the race live via in-car cameras, IMSA Radio and timing & scoring available worldwide on IMSA.com and the IMSA mobile device App.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2018 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Acura Motorsports 2018 Rolex 24 Lineup:
Acura Team Penske [Prototype]
#6 Acura ARX-05 Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron, Simon Pagenaud
#7 Acura ARX-05 Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor, Graham Rahal
Michael Shank Racing [GTD]
#86 Acura NSX GT3 Katherine Legge, Alvaro Parente, Trent Hindman, A.J. Allmendinger
#93 Acura NSX GT3 Lawson Aschenbach, Justin Marks, Mario Farnbacher, Come Ledogar
Honda of America Racing Team [GTD]
#69 Acura NSX GT3 Ryan Eversley, Chad Gilsinger, Sean Rayhall, John Falb