The Acura ARX-06 took the first win of IMSA's LMDh prototype era at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Prior to the race weekend, Acura released a documentary showing how the car was designed.
Branded GTP by IMSA in reference to the class of prototypes from the sanctioning body's 1980s glory days, the LMDh rule set includes hybrid powertrains, as well as chassis from approved suppliers, but gives manufacturers freedom for styling and in the choice of internal-combustion engine to be paired with spec hybrid components.
2023 Acura ARX-06 LMDh race car teaser
Taking advantage of the relatively open design rules, the ARX-06 was styled by the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles, going through the same design process as the automaker's road cars, complete with clay modelling and a wall of sketches. So while designers started out with a basic chassis from Oreca, the same supplier used for the outgoing ARX-05 DPi prototype, the look is distinctly Acura.
Acura chose a purpose-built 2.4-liter twin-turbo V-6 from Honda Performance Development to couple with the aforementioned rules-mandated hybrid hardware, including a motor generator unit from Bosch and Williams Advanced Engineering battery pack, as well as a 6-speed sequential gearbox from Xtrac.
The rules specify a maximum output of 670 hp, with 40-67 hp of that total coming from electricity, depending on the track. The hybrid system also allows for all-electric driving at low speeds, including when leaving the pits and driving to and from the garages—a novelty for IMSA racing.
Acura won multiple IMSA championships under the old DPi format but, as team boss Wayne Taylor notes in the documentary, the ARX-06 is a clean-sheet design. That required close collaboration between his Wayne Taylor Racing outfit and Meyer Shank Racing, the other team fielding an ARX-06 in the 2023 IMSA season, to develop the car before they could fight each other on track.
That development work paid off at Daytona, where the number 60 Meyer Shank Racing ARX-06, driven by Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Hello Castroneves, and Simon Pagenaud, took pole and the race win. Wayne Taylor Racing's number 10 ARX-06, driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Brendon Hartley, and Ricky Taylor, finished 4.1 seconds behind its sibling car. Watch the full documentary to see how this race winner was created.