Acura: It's all about teamwork

Image by Michael Levitt/LAT

Acura: It's all about teamwork

How do you sweep all three championships you’re eligible for in a single season? In the end, for Acura, Team Penske and drivers Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya to celebrate DPi manufacturers’, teams’ and drivers’ championship, respectively, in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it came down to teamwork.

In the simplest terms, Acura Motorsports is responsible for designing and building the ARX-05 DPi racecar, while Acura Team Penske is responsible for running it at the track. But that ignores the enormously complex layers within two organizations renowned for the high standards they continually strive for.

“It’s fascinating to watch the collaboration to root out the weak points and strengthen the points that are critical to success,” says HPD president Ted Klaus. “It truly is teamwork between the two organizations.”

Read RACER’s 16-page 2020 Acura Motorsports special section HERE

Team Penske President Tim Cindric can rattle off the specific roles and responsibilities of Acura Motorsports and Team Penske by rote, the result of almost 15 years at the helm of one of the most successful racing organizations in the world. Yet roles and responsibilities are only a frame to work within. It’s not the what, but the how that makes the difference.

“We complement each other,” says Cindric of Penske’s collaboration with Acura. “The main thing in any relationship is open and honest communication, and we have the mutual respect to have the accountability on both sides to address any situation that comes up.”

The resulting way of working maximizes the respective strengths of each organization, allocating resources, skills and knowledge to where they can be put to greatest effect.

Image by Michael Levitt/LAT

Racing organizations such as Acura Team Penske (TOP) are renowned for their laser focus on process and detail. Acura’s Performance Manufacturing Center (ABOVE) shares that ethos, with much of its work done by hand in the super-clean, custom-made facility.

A similar philosophy permeates Marysville, Ohio, where a former Acura logistics building has been reimagined as the Performance Manufacturing Center. PMC takes everything exceptional from 30 years of Acura know-how in engineering and motorsport and hyper-focuses it. It’s the birthplace of the current NSX, and it’s also where special performance variants of other models will be handcrafted in the future. Acura vice president and brand officer Jon Ikeda calls it, “A place where Acura can make things offline and on another level.”

PMC’s 200,000sq.ft. of pristine white floors, work stations and manufacturing equipment resembles an advanced race-team facility. It’s largely a human operation, where a close-knit group of Acura engineers and production associates meticulously build one NSX at a time.

“To create PMC, we went back to the first NSX factory in Japan for inspiration, which in turn got its inspiration from the Honda Formula 1 facility in the 1980s,” says Klaus. “PMC is now the third generation of Acura’s commitment to precision crafted performance.”