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Castroneves Confirmed for Penske Acura DPi Entry

Castroneves announced as third full-season driver for Acura DPi program…

Photo: Team Penske

Helio Castroneves has been confirmed as the third full-season driver in Team Penske’s Acura DPi program next year, joining previously-announced drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.

The IndyCar ace is set to make a transition over to a full-time sports car program for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after 18 years with Penske’s IndyCar team.

“I’ve been fortunate to achieve a lot of my personal goals with Team Penske over the years,” said Castroneves.

“Helping Roger [Penske], the team and everyone with Acura start this program and build it from the ground up will be another big challenge and a great opportunity in my career.

“I am proud of everything we have accomplished together in IndyCar and now I am focused on helping to develop the ARX-05 to try and win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the IMSA championship in 2018 with Acura.”

Castroneves has secured more IndyCar wins than any other Penske driver, including three victories at the Indianapolis 500. 

He is also set to return to Indy next May alongside his WeatherTech Championship program.

“Helio has been a valuable member of Team Penske for almost 20 years and we are looking forward to sharing more success together,” said Roger Penske.

“Having established winning drivers like Helio and Juan, teaming up with young and talented racers that know the series like Dane Cameron, will help give our new sports car program a solid foundation as we head into the 2018 season.”

Castroneves, Montoya and Simon Pagenaud are present at Road Atlanta for this weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans in a Penske Oreca 07 Gibson entered solely for the ten-hour enduro in preparation for the DPi effort.

The Acura ARX-05 DPi will debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. 

Ricky Taylor is expected to be announced as the fourth and final full-season driver in the Penske lineup but confirmation is not likely until after this weekend’s race due to his contractual obligations with GM.

Taylor is on the brink of claiming the Prototype title this weekend alongside his brother Jordan in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Mike S.

    October 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Wow there is no bar and Penske wants to win every race and blow everyone away. Cameron, Taylor, JPM and Helio seriously with another prototype ace in Pagenaud to help in endurance races. Well there goes the neighborhood. Will be fun for 3rd place I guess.

    • tracer

      October 4, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      I wouldn’t be so sure about that. First off it’s a BOP class. Second, the caddy engine will retain a sizeable low end torque, reliability and driveability advantage that will remain difficult to overcome over the balance of a season, especially in the enduros. Third, the likes of Joest and their expected driver lineup cannot be overlooked as an equally daunting addition to the class. Fourth and finally, don’t expect JPM and Helio to be world beaters right out the gate over the course of an endurance race. They’re both exceptionally quick, but traffic management, patience and car management will take time for both to adapt to.

      • Mike S.

        October 4, 2017 at 9:01 pm

        I don’t disagree with you on the indycar boys and BoP as factors but as of today the best prototype drivers in IMSA are Cameron and Taylor outside of the 2 Indycar boys. The other indycar boy Pagenaud is a good prototype driver so JPM and Helio don’t need to be in the car much. No disrespect to up and comers van der Zande and some other good drivers but they are the cream. Joest will add cream as well. The others may just be fodder in the long run of several years outside of Joest and Penske because they will get van de Zande and any others with the unlimited $$$ they have at their disposal. Other teams won’t have that luxury.

  2. Jenner

    October 4, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Why would Ricky leave a successful family business to join Penske?

    $$$$$$$$$$$$?

    • tracer

      October 4, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      Mixing family and business is rarely the best way forward in the professional world. I think it’s a smart move for Ricky to race under the Penske banner and get out of his comfort zone at WTR. He can always return to WTR down the road.

  3. Chris

    October 4, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Rumor is that Pipo Derani turned the Penske drive down to stay with ESM.

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