Skip to main content

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.

Related Videos

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

Editors' Recommendations

Acura’s Pikes Peak race cars show what it takes to get up a mountain fast
Acura Pikes Peak 2017

Acura last year launched an assault on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb that included not one, but three of its NSX hybrid supercars, including one converted to all-electric power. The Honda luxury brand came away with a Time Attack 2 class victory, but this year it hopes to win even more.

Acura is once again bringing a fleet of cars to Pikes Peak, but this year the emphasis is on the TLX sedan. The Acura contingent will include two racing versions of the TLX, plus an NSX racer. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the oldest continuously-run motor sports events, and one of the most challenging. The 12.42-mile course sports 156 turns on the way up to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak.

Read more
To fix its broken car, this Honda race team found an unusual source of parts
2017 Honda Civic Si Pirelli World Challenge race car

In racing, courage and ingenuity are important, but sometimes resourcefulness is what's needed to win.

Last Saturday, Pirelli World Challenge Driver Tom O'Gorman was in trouble. His 2017 Honda Civic Si race car was sitting in the pits with major damage from a four-car wreck. Since the Civic Si, which was redesigned for 2017, is only just now going on sale, it would be impossible to find the parts to fix it in time for Sunday's race. Then good fortune literally drove by.

Read more
See how far performance cars have come in 60 years with this new vs. old drag race
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT vs hot rod

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is basically a modern factory hot rod. Chrysler's SRT performance division wanted to make a fast Jeep, and it achieved that goal in the most straightforward way: by stuffing a more powerful engine behind the Grand Cherokee's seven-slot grille. It's how generations of hot rodders have turned ordinary cars into performance machines.

So how does the Grand Cherokee SRT stack up against an original hot rod? To find out how far performance cars have come in the last 60 years, Jeep's U.K. division took a base Grand Cherokee SRT (not the new, 707-horsepower Trackhawk version, mind you) and lined it up against a classic hot rod for a Hemi-powered quarter-mile shootout at England's Santa Pod Raceway.

Read more