Shank and Taylor Teams Will Race Acura ARX-06 with ORECA Chassis
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Acura Motorsports confirmed Monday that Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing will continue as the manufacturer’s teams into the LMDh era and that ORECA will again construct the chassis for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition when the new top prototype category begins in 2023.
Both MSR and WTR fielded the Acura ARX-05 this year in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class and will continue in that role in 2022, the final season for DPi. In 2023, the two teams will each compete in the new hybrid-powered Acura ARX-06 being developed by Acura and ORECA.
“It is a pleasure to announce we will continue our association with ORECA into the new, electrified LMDh era,” said David Salters, president and technical director of Honda Performance Development, the North American racing arm of Acura Motorsports. “We’ve enjoyed a very successful partnership with ORECA in the current Acura ARX-05 program, including winning the IMSA DPi manufacturers’ championship in both 2019 and 2020, and IMSA’s Michelin Endurance (Cup) this season.
“We expect the technical challenges of LMDh to be great and competition among all of the manufacturers and teams to be intense,” Salters added. “But that’s why Acura and HPD are involved in motorsport. Together with ORECA and our excellent partner teams, we’re truly excited to be a part of IMSA at the dawn of the LMDh era.”
Acura and ORECA (an acronym for ORganization Exploitation Course Automobiles) collaborated on development of the ARX-05 that won the WeatherTech Championship team, driver and manufacturer titles in 2019 and 2020 with Team Penske’s two-car effort. MSR and WTR took over as Acura DPi teams in 2021, with WTR’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 celebrating a prestigious victory to open the season in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The No. 10 Acura went on to claim the team and driver championships in the Michelin Endurance Cup, and with MSR’s No. 60 Acura, combined to win the manufacturer crown in the endurance events. WTR finished second in the overall team and driver battles by a scant 11 points.
“It is an honor to be representing Acura and HPD in LMDh,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “I am incredibly excited to continue to work with David Salters and everyone at HPD, and of course Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer, for this new chapter after the great success we’ve already accomplished in 2021. I was a big proponent for this right at the very beginning and I’m just really happy that HPD and Acura have chosen us to be one of the teams to compete in 2023.”
The Acura ARX-06 will be the latest in a line of prototypes to be fielded by the company dating to 1991, just five years after the 1986 launch of the Acura brand. The Acura sports car racing legacy includes the 2009 IMSA manufacturer, driver and team championships in both the Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) and Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) classes.
“Super proud to be part of this major announcement from Acura/Honda/HPD,” team owner Michael Shank said. “We’ve worked six, seven years now to further the message of performance within the Acura brands. For us, this is one of the biggest things we’ve ever done in our career. We look forward to it, working together with HPD and Acura. Can’t wait to get started.”
Acura is among five global manufacturers committed to the LMDh class, along with Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche.
Announced in 2020 as a shared platform between IMSA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), LMDh is based on a cost-capped car that will generate more than 670 horsepower (500 kilowatts) from the combined output of an internal combustion engine and a hybrid powertrain.
Competing automobile manufacturers may develop their own branded engine and stylized bodywork around a standardized chassis. Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac will work together to provide the spec hybrid powertrain system for all LMDh cars.