Team Penske has confirmed it will return to sportscar racing by fielding a pair of Acura prototypes in the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship from 2018.
While no drivers have yet been announced for either car, it is official that the team will run Daytona Prototype international-specification (DPi) Acura ARX-05 cars utilising the ORECA 07 chassis, thus also marking Honda Performance Development’s return to prototype racing.
Penske operates six Acura dealerships, the luxury brand of Honda, in the US.
According to RACER.com, Helio Castroneves is expected to be shifted over from Penske’s IndyCar team to partner Juan Pablo Montoya, whose own full-time IndyCar ride with ‘The Captain’ finished a season earlier.
“We are excited to join forces with the Honda Performance Development family and represent the Acura brand with two prototypes starting in 2018,” said Roger Penske.
“Sportscar racing has been an integral part of Team Penske’s heritage, from our first race at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966 to running the American Le Mans Series in the late 2000s.
“Reviving a Team Penske sports car program has always been a goal for us, but to do so required strong and successful partners like Honda and Acura.
“It’s great to extend our relationship from the dealership to the race track and we are excited to come back to IMSA and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”
Team Penske previously ran as a Porsche factory team in the American Le Mans Series and subsequently Rolex Sports Car Series from 2006 to 2009.
Ironically, that campaign saw them competing against Honda Performance Development in sportscars.
“We had a very spirited competition with Team Penske during our previous ALMS Acura prototype programs, and we are looking forward to working with, instead of against, Team Penske as the ideal partner for our return to the prototype ranks,” said HPD president Art St. Cyr.
“We also had a great deal of success together in CART and IndyCar competition, and Team Penske’s overall record in all forms of racing is unrivalled in our sport.”
The new Acuras will be officially unveiled at Monterey Car Week, which runs from August 11-20.