Art St. Cyr, Honda Performance Development president, has admitted that former Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button was in consideration for the Penske-Acura team in IMSA for 2018.
Penske Team Acura, which already had Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron on the books, announced today that reigning IMSA Prototype champion Ricky Taylor would join IndyCar convert Helio Castroneves in the second car, and that IndyCar aces Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud would be the third drivers for the three endurance races.
However St. Cyr admitted that Button, too, had been a candidate for the team’s lineup. Button, who has a total of eight years working with Honda, last weekend admitted he is looking for a return to motorsport next season and spoke warmly of IMSA’s top-class DPi class, leading to speculation he could join Penske-Acura at least as an endurance driver.
Said St. Cyr: “We were looking at a lot of different dynamics when we were putting this together. Of course, someone with Jenson Button's talent and also his pedigree with Honda is definitely someone that we had considered.
“But there were other circumstances that precluded him from being part of this program.
“We are extremely happy, and we think we got the right six to really compete for a championship right now. One of the things that we talked about is we wanted to pair experienced drivers in other series with people that are experienced in IMSA.”
Button is said to have the option to race in Super GT full-time in 2018 in one of the Acura NSX cars, and the schedule would have allowed him to race fulltime in Super GT and participate in Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Sebring 12 Hours and Petit Le Mans.