On Friday, Acura IMSA released a teaser of its next-generation prototype race car for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Acura ARX-06 (Acura Racing Experimental, short for Generation 6) LMDh Racer will debut in the 2023 season as a replacement for the ARX-05. Where the ARX-05 was built under the current Daytona Prototype International (DPi) rules, the ARX-06 will compete in the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona Hybrid) class. That class will be branded GTP in reference to IMSA’s best day prototype class of the 1980s.
The LMDh class was designed to overlap with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class, allowing cars to compete in both series and qualifying IMSA cars for 24-hour Le Mans. Although some manufacturers have confirmed plans to run on both the IMSA series and Le Mans, it seems that Acura will limit its promotion to IMSA for the time being.
Acura ARX-06 LMDh teaser
Like the ARX-05, the ARX-06 race-car firm Oreca is based on a chassis, but will have an Acura-enhanced powertrain and bodywork, according to an Acura press release. That bodywork was created by the same Los Angeles-based studio that handles automaker road cars. Teaser images show an evolution of the styling of the ARX-05
ARX-05 has run well. Launched for the 2018 season with Tim Pensk, it has provided team, manufacturer and driver championships in 2019 and 2020. The partnership with Pensk broke up after 2020, so Acura split into two ARX-05 chassis Wayne Taylor Racing and Mayor Shank Racing. These teams delivered 24-hour back-to-back victories of Daytona for Acura in 2021 and 2022.
The LMDh era will bring more competition in IMSA racing. Defending DPI maker Cadillac is switching to a new division. BMW will return to top-level prototype racing with a car scheduled to make its debut on June 6. Porsche and Lamborghini are also committed to the LMDh, but the latter will not be on the field until 2024, one year after the debut of the LMDh. Daytona 2023 in 24 hours.