Acura introduces fifth-generation race car prototype, the ARX-05

Article by Christian A., on August 20, 2017

Earlier in August, Acura gave us teasers of the ARX-05 Daytona Prototype race car. And last Thursday night in Monterey, they have decided to finally reveal it to the public.

What the company has confirmed so far is that the Acura ARX-05 will be competing at next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The race car is going to have the same chassis as the ORECA 07 while featuring a typical Acura specific bodywork. It will also be getting a pair of Jewel Eye headlights.

The ARX-05 race car is going to be powered by a twin-turbo AR35TT engine according to the company. This engine is similar to that of the 3.5 liter V6 from models like the MDX, TLX, and RLX.

On January next year, two examples of this will make their racing debut at Rolex 24. One will be driven by Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya, while it has not yet been announced which drivers will lead the other unit. Team Penske will compete with the ARX-05 race car in a multi year Daytona Prototype International program held by Honda Performance Development.

During the unveiling of the racecar, Art St. Cyr, Acura Motorsports President proudly said that the company has done so successfully in this field (racing) since the beginning. He then added that the ARX-05 race car is their fifth generation prototype, hence its name, and the company expects a lot from Team Penske’s performance during next year’s race.

The ARX-05 Daytona Prototype is dressed in a white base colour with the number “86” stamped on its hood. It is given dayglo orange highlights combined with different shades of grey - similar to the factory Acura NSX GT3s that joined the IMSA GT Daytona class this year.

Automakers are allowed to take stock LMP2 models and replace them with custom engines and bodywork styling. According to the company’s design chief, David Marek, the design of the ARX-05 was made after initial sketches had been drawn combined with a handful of designs. This was developed even further after going through a number of tests and evaluation processes, until they finally came up with the perfect formula that met their goals, while still maintaining the company’s style cues.

Head of the brand, John Ikeda said that “Precision Crafted Performance is the heart of what we do”. Meaning to say that if you want to be known as a performance brand, then you have to ensure that the vehicles you make can perform - regardless of whether these vehicles are prototypes or production models.

Press Release

Acura Reveals Striking ARX-05 Prototype Race Car in Monterey; Debut Set for Daytona

Acura today unveiled the new Acura ARX-05 prototype race car at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. Acura Motorsports will join forces with the legendary Team Penske organization to field a pair of the new Daytona Prototype International (DPi) entries in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The Acura ARX-05 (Acura Racing eXperimental, generation 5) is the latest in a line of endurance prototypes to be fielded by the brand dating to 1991, just five years after the 1986 launch of the Acura marque. Based on the very successful ORECA 07 chassis, the new ARX-05 prototype showcases Acura-specific bodywork and design features, including Acura's signature Jewel Eye™ headlights, and utilizes the race-proven AR35TT twin-turbocharged engine, based on the production 3.5-liter V-6 that powers the Acura MDX, RDX, TLX and RLX models.

"At Acura, Precision Crafted Performance is at the heart of everything we do." said Jon Ikeda, Acura vice-president and general manager. "Whether it is our production cars or a prototype race car, if you want to be a performance brand you need to perform."

The multi-year DPi program will be administered by Honda Performance Development (HPD), the racing arm for both Acura Motorsports and Honda Racing in North America. The competition debut of the Team Penske Acura prototypes will take place at the season-opening Rolex 24 in January, 2018. One of the team's two ARX-05 entries will be piloted by the legendary Juan Pablo Montoya along with sports car champion Dane Cameron. The second driver pairing will be announced at a later date.

"Right from the start, Acura has raced – and done so successfully," said Art St. Cyr, President of HPD and Acura Motorsports. "We've won with the Acura Integra Type R, the RSX, the first-generation NSX and with the Le Mans prototypes. Most recently, we've won with the new Acura NSX GT3. The ARX-05 is our fifth-generation prototype, and we expect great things from our partnership with Team Penske."

DPi rules require manufacturers to use one of four approved prototype chassis, fitted with IMSA-homologated, manufacturer-designed and branded bodywork and engines. In the case of the ARX-05, the bodywork was developed by a team led by Acura Global Creative Director Dave Marek.

"We created a variety of initial sketches, then pared those down a handful of potential designs. Next came aero and wind tunnel model testing, and time for the engineers to have their say," Marek recounted. "The design continued to be refined throughout the testing and evaluation process, until we came up with a final treatment that met our performance goals while maintaining Acura styling cues. It's been an exciting process."

The Acura ARX-05 will add to a rich legacy of Acura sports car racing successes, including the 1991-93 IMSA Camel Lights manufacturer and driver championships; 50 IMSA and American Le Mans Series class or overall race victories (through Watkins Glen 2017); and the 2009 American Le Mans Series manufacturer, driver and team championships, in both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes.

Based on the "J35" family of engines found in Acura MDX, RDX, TLX and RLX production vehicles, the Acura AR35TT engine has powered class winners at the 12 Hours of Sebring (2011-13); the 24 Hours of Le Mans and LMP2 World Endurance Championship (2012). The engine also powered entries to American Le Mans Series LMP2 titles in 2012-13; and the overall winners at the Rolex 24, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2016.

Acura Motorsports currently campaigns the Acura NSX GT3 in the IMSA GTD category with Michael Shank Racing – where it has already won at Detroit and Watkins Glen this season – as well as with Real Time Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge GT division.

Following today's official unveiling, the Acura ARX-05 will also be on display at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (August 19) and on the Concept Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (August 20).

Source: Acura

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