Acura prototypes to be run by Taylor, Shank in 2021
Wayne Taylor Racing and Michael Shank Racing will take over the running of Acura’s ARX-05s in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it was announced today.
Photo by: Acura
The ARX-05s, which have scored six wins in the hands of Acura Team Penske since their debut in the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, swept last year’s Manufacturers’, Teams’ and Drivers’ championships.
The move signals an end to Wayne Taylor Racing’s 10-year association with General Motors, with which it has won three of the last four Rolex 24s, and the 2017 IMSA Prototype title, all while using the Cadillac DPi-V.R. Drivers Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande also currently lead the 2020 champioship.
Meanwhile Meyer Shank Racing (then called Michael Shank Racing) – which won IMSA’s last pre-DPi race, the 2016 Petit Le Mans, using a Honda-powered Ligier – moves back up to the Prototype class. Since 2017, MSR has run the Acura NSX GT3 program in the GT Daytona class, culminating in last year’s teams’ and drivers’ titles. Like WTR, MSR currently leads its IMSA class.
Jon Ikeda, Acura brand officer, declared: “It is a pleasure to announce that Wayne Taylor Racing will be joining the Acura ARX-05 IMSA program in 2021, along with Meyer Shank Racing, which will build on our very successful partnership by moving up to the prototype ranks.
“We’re confident that both teams will help us build on the successes we’ve achieved to date in IMSA competition, as we continue to apply precision-crafted performance to all of our activities – on the race circuits of North America, in our production vehicles, and in the market place.
“We also want to thank Roger Penske, who has long been an important part of the Acura family as one of our great Acura dealers. It has been a privilege to have Roger as part of the Acura Motorsports family over the past three years.”
Team co-owner and founder Michael Shank said: “When Acura and HPD chose Meyer Shank Racing to debut the Acura NSX GT3 in 2017, it was a big moment in our history. I’m really proud of building a championship-winning program and everything that we’ve been able to accomplish together with the NSX.
"As a team, we’ve been working toward the opportunity to go and fight for overall wins for a long time, and I am eager to get going with this program. But we have some work to do first, and we are 100 percent focused on bringing another IMSA championship home with the Acura NSX in 2020."
"Mike and I are both eager to expand our IMSA program and get to once again work with Acura and HPD,” said his fellow co-owner Jim Meyer. “Mike has built such a strong IMSA program over the last decade, and this is another step that we're looking forward to pursuing."
Wayne Taylor, who has seen his team conquer all four of IMSA’s marquee events – the Rolex 24, 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, and Six Hours at Watkins Glen – said: “Since getting to know everyone at HPD and Acura Motorsports, I feel that they have a lot of respect for the Wayne Taylor Racing family. What I really like is that they have the same passion and vision as I do.
“I am looking forward to running the DPi for the next few years. I am equally excited to be able to bring my long-term partnership with Konica Minolta, Rick Taylor and Michael Mathe to the program. We all can’t wait to get started.”
Ted Klaus, president of Honda Performance Development which builds the ARX-05, said: “We welcome Wayne Taylor Racing into the Acura Motorsports family, and very much anticipate their contributions to our prototype program. Equally, we look forward to growing our successful partnership with Meyer Shank Racing, now in DPi.
“Our intention is to have Acura Motorsports partner with MSR and WTR, to not only continue our championship ways in DPi, but to collaborate to develop the next generation Acura LMDh.
“Finally, we want to thank Team Penske for their outstanding effort and impressive results together with Acura and HPD these past three years.”
Despite MSR’s return to Prototype competition, an official Acura release said that “the NSX program is expected to continue in IMSA competition in 2021.”
Photo by: Acura
Photo by: Acura
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