Acura has revealed its new Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) race car set to compete from 2023 in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Called the Acura ARX-06, short for Acura Racing Experimental - generation 6, the car has just come off a round of initial testing that took place last week at France's Circuit Paul Ricard. Handling most of the driving were Honda engineer and successful racer Matt McMurry and Wayne Taylor Racing driver Ricky Taylor.
Acura plans to compete exclusively in the SportsCar Championship, specifically in the new GTP premier class that from 2023 replaces the current DPi class in which Acura competes with the ARX-05.
The GTP class is also open to cars built to Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) regulations, some of which have been competing since 2021 in the FIA World Endurance Championship's Hypercar class. Likewise, LMDh cars are also eligible for the Hypercar class, though Acura hasn't announced plans to compete in the World Endurance Championship.
For its LMDh program, Acura will field its cars together with race- and championship-winning teams Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing. A driver lineup will be announced at a later date.
Like the outgoing ARX-05, the ARX-06 is based on a chassis from Oreca, but will have an Acura-developed hybrid powertrain. Acura is also responsible for the exterior design of the car, with the initial design shaped by the same Los Angeles-based studio that handles much of the design of Acura's road cars.
2023 Acura ARX-06 LMDh race car teaser
The design is clearly an evolution of the ARX-05, a car which has had a good run in the SportsCar Championship. Debuting in the 2018 season with Team Penske, it delivered team, manufacturer, and driver championships in 2019 and 2020. The partnership with Penske dissolved after 2020, so Acura split the two ARX-05 cars between Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing. Those teams delivered back-to-back 24 Hours of Daytona victories for Acura in 2021 and 2022.
The first race for the ARX-06 will be the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona next January. It serves as the opening race of the 2023 SportsCar Championship.
There will be plenty of stiff competition among the LMDh field. Alpine, Audi (maybe), BMW, Cadillac, Lamborghini and Porsche are also committed to LMDh, while ByKolles, Ferrari, Glickenhaus, Peugeot and Toyota are all committed to LMH.