Acura and Honda Performance Development have joined forces with Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing to lead the brand’s efforts in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi category in 2021 and beyond.
With the single-car No. 60 MSR Acura ARX-05 and the No. 10 WTR Acura entries, the manufacturer will maintain the same two-car footprint in DPi after its three-year contract with Team Penske reaches its conclusion in November.
For MSR, the move to DPi follows years with working with Acura, Honda, and HPD across the NTT IndyCar Series, IMSA’s LMP2 class, and IMSA’s GT Daytona category, where it serves as the defending champions. For WTR, the shift signals the end of a long and successful relationship with General Motors that produced numerous championships, including the inaugural DPi title in 2017 with the Cadillac DPi-V.R.
“It is a pleasure to announce that Wayne Taylor Racing will be joining our Acura ARX-05 IMSA program in 2021, along with Meyer Shank Racing, which will build on our very successful partnership by moving up to the prototype ranks,” said Jon Ikeda, Acura’s Brand Officer. “We’re confident that both teams will help us build on the successes we’ve achieved to date in IMSA competition, as we continue to apply Precision Crafted Performance to all of our activities – on the race circuits of North America, in our production vehicles, and in the market place.
“We also very much want to thank Roger Penske, who has long been an important part of the Acura family as one of our great Acura dealers. It has been a privilege to have him as part of the Acura Motorsports family over the past three years.”
Although no drivers were named for the MSR and WTR Acura programs, RACER understands both Dane Cameron and Ricky Taylor from Acura Team Penske have been retained by HPD and will provide leadership and continuity from the cockpit in full-time roles. Given Taylor’s family ties, it would not be a surprise to see a reunion with his father, which would suggest Cameron, who won the 2019 DPi title with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, is headed to Shank’s outfit.
“When Acura and HPD chose Meyer Shank Racing to debut the Acura NSX GT3 in 2017, it was a big moment in our history,” said Shank, whose team will leave GTD with the NSX GT3s to focus on DPi. “I’m really proud of building a championship-winning program and everything that we’ve been able to accomplish together with the NSX. As a team, we’ve been working towards the opportunity to go and fight for overall wins for a long time, and I am thrilled to be making this announcement and eager to get going with this DPi program. But we have some work to do first, and we are 100-percent focused on bringing another IMSA championship home with the Acura NSX in 2020.”
The decision to change its manufacturer alliance while leading the current DPi standings was not an easy one for Taylor, but the South African says it was in WTR’s best interests.
“While Wayne Taylor Racing has been enjoying much success with Cadillac over the past several years, Acura and Honda Performance Division have also had considerable success,” he said. “All of us at Wayne Taylor Racing are looking forward to partnering with Acura and HPD and adding to their achievements. Our new partnership with Acura and HPD provides us with the long-term stability necessary to properly invest in the program and remain championship contenders for years to come.”
RACER has also learned that as part of the new or expanded relationships, MSR and WTR will both receive a new, ORECA-built Acura ARX-05 powered by its title-winning twin-turbo V6 engine, and once the 2020 season is over, a second cars will be supplied once the two ARX-05s are returned by Team Penske. As well, Taylor’s teammate Helio Castroneves, and Montoya – two Penske employees assigned to the Acura DPi effort – are not expected to continue at MSR or WTR.