Acura has renewed its involvement in IMSA racing, and it’s doing so with Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing. Starting in 2021, the ARX-05 Daytona Prototype International will hit the track with these two single-car teams. Both will debut at the 2021 24 Hours of Daytona.
This news follows this winter’s announcement that Acura and Team Penske would not be renewing the partnership that had brought both parties much success. By forging a path with MSR and WTR, Acura is looking to both expand its IMSA involvement and to write a new chapter in the brand’s history.
It’s a big shift in the dynamic of IMSA’s top level. While Team Penske has admittedly had a rocky start to the postponed 2020 season, its dominance with Acura since 2018 has been monumental. The move to two single-car teams offers a chance for a broader range of developmental growth for Acura’s DPi program alongside two of IMSA’s top teams.
“Today is a very, very exciting day for me,” Wayne Taylor said. “Having been in sports car racing since I moved to the United States, it’s some 30 years later, and there’s been a 360 on his program.”
Regarding the change, he continued:
I don’t know how many people remember I drove a Comptech Camel Light GT car, so it’s done a complete circle. The big thing here is that we’ve gotten to know everyone from HPD, and I feel they’ve treated the entire Wayne Taylor Racing team with so much respect. What’s more important, the vision is very clear about what they want to do and achieve, and that’s what I want to do an achieve: to move up a level in sportscar racing.
Wayne Taylor Racing was founded in 2004 and has since won two driver’s championships, four 24 Hours of Daytona events and one 12 Hours of Sebring event.
Meyer Shank Racing is also a storied team, having nearly 30 years of competition under its belt. It’s currently defending the GTD championship in
IMSA and has undertaken a full-time IndyCar program.
“When Acura and HPD chose Meyer Shank Racing to debut the Acura NSX GT3 in 2017, it was a big moment in our history,” Michael Shank, co-owner of Meyer Shank Racing, said in a press release. “I’m really proud of building a championship-winning program and everything that we’ve been able to accomplish together with the NSX,”
During a news conference, he added the following:
We came from prototype and wanted to stay in prototype. We took the GT3 project on with open arms, but we’re ready to get back to what our roots are. I think we have high odds of doing well together. Both teams have talked a lot. We look forward to seeing where this goes.
The Acura program has been a successful one in IMSA in recent years, clocking six wins, 14 other podium finishes and 11 poles out of 25 races. And its competition has been tough: With Cadillac, Mazda and Nissan in the fray, Acura faced tough challengers.
Sports car racing as a whole could look significantly different in the near future, with cross-series regulations bringing IMSA and WEC together in competition via the LMDh program. That said, Ted Klaus, president of HPD, isn’t ready to confirm that step.
“As long as everyone keeps all the commitments [made] over the past few years, it’s our intention to go forward,” he said. “But since we haven’t seen the actual details — we’re technical people, we’re racers — we want to see the details first.” The regulations, intended for release during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, have been delayed.