Acura teams up with an old rival on new purpose-built ARX-05 race car

It may not have the long history of Ferrari or Porsche, but Acura is clearly committed to racing. The Honda luxury brand has been racing for more than 25 years, currently fields its NSX hybrid supercar in two different series, and is a regular at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. And next year, Acura will shift into an even higher gear.

Instead of only racing souped-up versions of production models, Acura will rejoin the ranks of purpose-built race cars, known as prototypes. Acura’s new prototype racer was unveiled at “The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering,” part of the sprawling Monterey Car Week in California, and will make its racing debut in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Called the ARX-05 (Acura Racing Experimental, generation 5), the car was built for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship‘s Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class. The class currently features race cars from Cadillac, Mazda, and Nissan, with powertrains and styling unique to their respective manufacturers. That gives each car more of an identity, while still keeping the playing field relatively level.

Acura followed the same template with the ARX-05. It’s based on an Oreca 07 chassis, but features styling cues pulled from Acura production models, including the automaker’s “Jewel Eye” headlights. The race car was actually designed in the same California studio that helps shape production models. The engine is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 based on the “J35” engine used in the Acura RLX, TLX, MDX, and RDX. Different versions of this engine have also been used in previous Acura and Honda race cars.

Acura may be building the cars, but Team Penske will actually race them. That’s the racing empire of the legendary Roger Penske, who has more Indianapolis 500 wins as a team owner than anyone else. Still, the partnership is a bit peculiar because Acura and Penske used to be rivals. The last time Acura raced prototypes, Penske and its Porsche RS Spyders were the main competition.

The Acura ARX-05 will be displayed throughout Monterey Car Week, the pseudo car show made up of multiple events, including the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car has already been through some shake-down runs at the Paul Ricard track in France, but it won’t turn a wheel in anger until the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the legendary Floridian 24-hour race, in January.

Updated: Added details on styling and engine, as well as photos

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Honda’s Urban EV is shaping up to be a high-tech, high-style electric city car

Honda will travel to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to unveil a close-to-production prototype that previews an adorable, city-friendly electric car. The Urban EV will offer about 155 miles of range, and its interior is a tech lover's dream come…
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.