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  Acura ARX-05
 

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Country of origin:Japan
Introduced in:2018
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 01, 2021
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Click here to download printer friendly versionJapanese manufacturer Acura returned to sports car racing at the start of the 2018 season with the brand new ARX-05. Built to the DPi regulations introduced during the 2017 United SportsCar Championship, the car was developed by Honda Performance Development (HPD) in Santa Clarita. As per the rules, it was based on a chassis provided by one of four specialised constructors. Acura's supplier of choice was the French Oreca company.

While the actual and hugely successful Oreca 07 LMP2 chassis had to be incorporated in the design, the DPi regulations allowed for a free choice of bodywork. This made the sports racers of each of the manufacturers competing in the top level class truly unique and instantly recognisable. For the ARX-05, HPD created a distinct nose with a raised wing, running between Acura's signature 'Jewel Eye' headlights. The rest of the bodywork included many of the familiar lines that undoubtedly made the Oreca 07 such a successful machine.

Carried over from earlier Acura sports car programs was the HPD developed AR35TT engine. This twin turbo V6 was built on the very same block as the 'J35' engines that powered Acura production models like the MDX, RDX, TLX and RLX. Using just a single overhead camshaft, the 3.5-litre V6 is very compact. Equipped with a pair of off-the-shelve Borg Warner turbochargers, the AR35TT's actual performance was capped by the regulations at around 600 bhp. The engine was mated to a six-speed, paddle operated sequential gearbox.

To run the two-car effort, Acura signed a deal with Team Penske. As a nod to the hugely successful Acura GTP racers of the past, the two cars were finished in white with orange stripes. Among the full season drivers were the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves. The cars were quick straight out of the box and then scored a fitting first victory at the Mid Ohio round, which was near the Acura engine factory. Consistent campaigns saw Acura win the Drivers', Teams' and Constructors' Championships in 2019 and 2020 but a victory in one of the two classic endurance races proved elusive.

There was a major shake-up ahead of the 2021 season with Team Penske stepping down and Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing signing up to compete with one ARX-05 each. The new collaboration got off to a rolling start as the Wayne Taylor Racing entered example, driven by Ricky Taylor, Felipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves snatched a debut victory in the very hotly contested Daytona 24 Hours season opener. It was the third consecutive win for Wayne Taylor Racing and the first ever outright success in a major endurance race for Acura.

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  Article Image gallery (13) Specifications Video (1)