Acura IMSA Program Trades Penske for Wayne Taylor Racing, Meyer Shank Racing
Acura Motorsports on Wednesday announced it will partner with Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing to campaign a pair of Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, beginning in 2021.
They will replace the Penske Acura team, which Acura announced on July 21 will not continue into 2021, leaving superstar drivers Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron and Ricky Taylor looking for jobs now that the three-year contract with Acura is ending.
Calling it the “secret sauce” that may have been lacking in the Penske Acura effort, which will finish out the season, Honda Performance Development head Ted Klaus said that he is looking for good things in 2021 and beyond by having two separate teams, rather than one two-car team, developing the car and sharing information.
Taylor leaves an association with General Motors – Cadillac, in this case – that dates back 28 years. Meyer Shank is already campaigning the Acura NSX in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, a two-car team that is now for sale, with guaranteed “semi-factory,” Klaus said, support. Shank also fields a Honda-powered IndyCar entry.
The teams will continue to field the Acura ARX-05 DPi, the fifth generation of the car. Based on the ORECA 07 chassis, it is powered by Acura’s production-based AR35TT twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
Taylor and Castroneves won at Road Atlanta, the most recent IMSA WeatherTech race, as well as at Road America. They are sixth in the DPi driver standings; Montoya and Cameron are seventh and winless for the season.
Meyer Shank drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry also won at Road Atlanta in the GT Daytona class and lead the standings. Teammates Misha Goikhberg and Alvaro Parente are 10th.
Klaus said that the intent with the multi-year contract with Meyer Shank and Taylor is to carry the teams into the LMDh era in 2023, when new cars will allow IMSA teams to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with no technical changes. In a video conference call, Shank, Taylor and Klaus all said that they have their eyes on a Le Mans program then.
Elsewhere on the IMSA front:
PORSCHE A NO-SHOW
IMSA fans will get a preview of what next season’s IMSA GT Le Mans field may look like this weekend – two Corvettes, and two BMWs, as Porsche has declined to race at Mid-Ohio after three team members tested positive for COVID-19 after the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend. Porsche has announced it will not be back in the IMSA GT Le Mans class in 2021.
Said Porsche: “As a precautionary measure, Porsche Motorsport will not be sending any team members who were in Le Mans Mid-Ohio in Lexington, Ohio, September 25-27. Factory drivers Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) all competed in Le Mans. Porsche will be back in the competition for the eighth race of the IMSA season at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10.
“The decision will not impact the No. 16 Wright Motorsports effort in the GTD class. The Porsche 911 GT3 R race car shared by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick will compete as planned.”
The announcement also severely reduces Porsche’s participation in the upcoming 24 Hours of Nurburgring in Germany. Porsche has decided to send only a reduced number of participants, This involves a total of nine drivers who were to drive the six Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars of four customer teams September 26-27. Furthermore, this means that the popular No. 911 Manthey-Racing car, dubbed “Grello” by fans, cannot be fielded.
Affected Porsche customer teams and drivers: KCMG (No. 18): Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet, Romain Dumas; Frikadelli Racing (No. 31): Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre; Falken Motorsport (No. 33): Thomas Preining; Falken Motorsport (No. 44): Matteo Cairoli, and Manthey-Racing (No. 911): Julien Andlauer, Matt Campbell.
NEXT UP: MID-OHIO
WeatherTech Championship track activity at Mid-Ohio begins for the GTD, GT Le Mans and Daytona Prototype international classes with a practice at 6:10 p.m. ET Friday. A second practice is set for 10:55 a.m. Saturday, with qualifying at 8 a.m. Sunday. The two-hour, 40-minute race begins at 2:05 p.m. ET Sunday and streams live on the NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Delayed NBCSN television coverage airs at 11 p.m. ET Sunday.
IMSA on TV
Were to Find the Action:
SATURDAY, SEPT. 26
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Race 1, Lexington, Ohio; 9:45 a.m., IMSA.tv (L)
Michelin Pilot Challenge Race 1, Lexington, Ohio; 1 p.m., IMSA.tv, NBC Sports Gold TrackPass (L)
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Race 2, Lexington, Ohio; 3:30 p.m., IMSA.tv (L)
IMSA Prototype Challenge Round 5, Lexington, Ohio; 4:40 p.m., IMSA.tv, NBC Sports Gold TrackPass (L)
SUNDAY, SEPT. 27
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Qualifying, Lexington, Ohio; 7:55 a.m., IMSA.tv (L)
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Race 3, Lexington, Ohio; 9:15 a.m., IMSA.tv (L)
Michelin Pilot Challenge Race 2, Lexington, Ohio; 10:30 a.m., IMSA.tv, NBC Sports Gold TrackPass (L)
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, Lexington, Ohio; 2 p.m., IMSA.tv, NBC Sports Gold TrackPass (L)
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, Lexington, Ohio; 11 p.m., NBCSN (S)
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