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Penske Confirms Ricky Taylor; Rahal, Pagenaud for Enduros in Acura DPi

Ricky Taylor confirmed as fourth full-season Penske Acura DPi driver…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

One of the worst-kept secrets in the IMSA paddock has been finally confirmed, with Team Penske naming Ricky Taylor to its Acura DPi program in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, while the team’s endurance drivers have also been revealed.

The newly crowned Prototype champion will join Helio Castroneves at the wheel of the team’s second Acura ARX-05 DPi, alongside the previously announced full-season pairing of Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.

Additionally, IndyCar stars Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud have been confirmed for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

It marks a move away from the family-run Wayne Taylor Racing team for the 28-year-old second-generation driver, which Ricky has driven for in the last four seasons.

Taylor got his first taste of working with Penske during an IndyCar test at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this year, and is understood to have kept in touch with Roger Penske and Tim Cindric since.

“It was a great experience getting a chance to test an Indy car with Team Penske, but to get a call from Roger Penske offering the opportunity to drive one of his race cars full time, well, that’s a life-changing opportunity,” said Taylor.

“We have had a lot of success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship the last few seasons with my dad’s team, including winning both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Championship this year.

“I’m definitely ready for the next challenge in my career and I couldn’t be more excited to join Team Penske and work with Helio, Juan and Dane to launch the new factory Acura effort and start winning with the ARX-05 in 2018.”

Taylor was crowned series champion at the Motul Petit Le Mans last weekend after winning the first five rounds of the season.

“Adding a champion sports car driver in Ricky will help our team grow and develop,” said Roger Penske. “Ricky had a phenomenal season in 2017.

“He brings a great deal of sports car experience and his knowledge of the cars, the race tracks and the series overall will be a big benefit to our team.

“Having that experience, along with the winning pedigree of Helio, Juan and Dane, provides a great platform as we launch the Acura Team Penske program next season.”

Rahal, Pagenaud Join Penske for Endurance Races

Acura Team Penske’s lineup is now complete, with Rahal and Pagenaud also confirmed as drivers for the opening two WeatherTech Championship races of the season.

2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Pagenaud formed part of the team’s lineup for its sports car return at Road Atlanta alongside Castroneves and Montoya, while Rahal drove the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 at Daytona this year.

“This will be a dream come true to get to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring for Roger Penske, someone who not only means a lot to sports car racing, but motorsports in general,” said Rahal. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity and I really look forward to racing the Acura ARX-05.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to race with the Acura brand already and had a good time running the Acura NSX at Daytona this past season.”

Pagenaud added: “I’ve been hoping for the opportunity to work with Team Penske in the endurance races for next year and I’m excited to get the opportunity.

“We had a strong first showing at Petit Le Mans last weekend and I feel like the team is on the right track.

“All of the drivers had some rust to knock off driving these types of cars and the team got a lot of great experience.”

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. Jenner

    October 11, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Guess blood isn’t thicker than water. $$$$$$$$$$$

    • Jealousy and Genius on the internet

      October 11, 2017 at 10:05 am

      I am sure you would turn down an opportunity to race for the most successful operation in U.S. sports carracing history. This opportunity will also give you possible access to future Indy, NASCAR, or other series Penske might try in the future. The knowledge that you’r father has stated on numerous occasions that he wants his sons to grow and branch out to other teams and racing series as his team ownership will not last forever. Sometimes being a family means wanting the best for you’r sons which means leaving the nest to grow. Of course, you could not miss a chance to “internet genius” slam someone who at the age of 28 has already achieved and experienced more in life than you ever will. Loser!

      • David Chaste

        October 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

        Totally uncalled for. If you’re having a bad day this is not the place

      • Jenner

        October 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

        Dude, you need to let your dog out, sounds like he pissed in your Captain Crunch this morning.

        Just saying, Did Tom Brady leave the Patriots after winning the Super Bowl? Did Steph Curry leave the Warriors after winning the NBA Championship? Did Derek Jeter leave the Yankees after winning the World Series?

        Now get out of the basement and go buy a doggy door before your Captaiin Crunch gets too soggy.

        • Matt

          October 11, 2017 at 7:27 pm

          It gives Ricky the opportunity to move up to Indycar.

        • Jeff Wagner

          October 11, 2017 at 8:33 pm

          The truth hurts Jenner. How is he not loyal to his Family? Wayne is SO happy for Ricky.

        • Jeff Wagner

          October 11, 2017 at 8:45 pm

          Jenner: So he he should eventually become an unmotivated driver driving for his Dad all his career like Marco Andretti is with no fear of losing his ride? That has proven to make a driver better. Graham Rahal drove for other teams in INDYCAR and drove in the ALMS, look at the difference in the two now!

    • David Chaste

      October 11, 2017 at 10:23 am

      His dad would want him to drive for Penske. It’s an accomplishment. It’s reaching the pinnacle.

      Personally i feel Jordan is faster, but Ricky can be more consistent and more serious in general.

      • Frank

        October 11, 2017 at 11:01 am

        wut?
        Other way around. Jordan is the reliable, consistent one. Ricky is the faster of the two but is more prone to mistakes or overdrive the car in the heat of the moment.
        I do agree, though, that Ricky is indeed the more mature of the two

        • Jon

          October 11, 2017 at 3:08 pm

          This year Ricky showed that he is faster and more consistent. Jordan, on the other hand, made some dumb mistakes, driving thru the gravel trap while under pressure at Le Mans being one of them.

          • Jeff Wagner

            October 11, 2017 at 8:38 pm

            I think Roger would consider Jordan to too much of a “smart allec” to drive for him.

    • MattZ

      October 11, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Graham Rahal isn’t driving for Penske, and not his father’s team. Does that prove your point?

    • jason

      October 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      Hey Bruce Jenner boy you look stupid! HAHAHAhttp://johndagys.wpengine.com/imsa/iwsc/wayne-taylor-fathers-dream-for-ricky-to-be-called-up-by-penske/

      • Jenner

        October 11, 2017 at 7:15 pm

        What’d you think he would say after signing a contract.

        All year long, everyone said WTR is the smartest, most talented, most prepared team in not only IMSA, but all of motorsports. They could run a winning car is Indycar, IMSA, NASCAR, even Formula 1.

        So if the team your on is of the caliber of Mercedes F1, Richard Childress, or Chip Ganassi, why wouldn’t you stay and race with your brother and dad?

        Should we start engraving the 2018 IMSA Championship trophy with Penske’s name on it b4 Daytona?

        I just think racing together with family is rare and unique. Even Michael Andretti said his favorite time in racing was when he was racing with his dad at Newman/Haas.

        Btw: Bruce Jenner was a stud in his day, now as Caitlyn, he’s looking for you now, he thinks you’re cute. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

        • jason

          October 11, 2017 at 11:21 pm

          I’m sure you know all about him being a “stud”. Troll on troll your 1st comment says it all!

  2. Brian

    October 11, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Looks like Button was too expensive. That or he has his 2018 Mclaren Reserve driver contract. Congrats to Ricky though. Will be interesting to see him racing against his Dad’s team.

    • AF

      October 11, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Or he’ll be driving for Zak’s team at Daytona.

      • B

        October 11, 2017 at 10:13 am

        This

        • FLB

          October 11, 2017 at 12:19 pm

          The French magazine AutoHebdo is reporting that Fernando Alonso will be one of the United drivers at the Rolex 24. No word on Button, though.

    • Mark - Toronto

      October 11, 2017 at 10:47 am

      My understanding is that his McLaren contract is up this year. The Taylor move was expected, but I was hoping Button would at least end up as a 3rd driver for the endurance events with Acura. I think we all assumed that it would be Acura because of his Honda connections, but I don’t know if those 4 events would have been enough for him anyway. I guess it depends on what it could be mixed with elsewhere. Regardless, that’s a shame. I know there are technically openings at Wayne Taylor and Mazda….but I’m guessing that’s not likely.

      • Tom A.

        October 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm

        I could see Jenson signing with Mazda, given the proven pedigree of the Joest organization.

      • Jon

        October 11, 2017 at 3:13 pm

        I’d rather see Graham, a home-grown talent, get the shot. He deserves for his stellar driving in Indycar the past few years.

    • Rus'L

      October 11, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Zak Brown has said that Button’s contract with McLaren runs out at the end of this year. He’s a free agent next year.

  3. Punisher

    October 11, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Again the talent of the driver lineups starting next season will be over the top.
    I can’t wait.

  4. João Coelho

    October 11, 2017 at 9:53 am

    So which endurance drivers will stay in which car?

  5. David Chaste

    October 11, 2017 at 10:27 am

    The drivers’ comments in the press release are completely scripted. Come on Acura and Penske let the drivers be loose a bit. Acura drivers are more new money and trendy.

    • Jon

      October 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Often press release comments are written by PR folks and signed off on by the person, not the person’s actual comments.

      • David Chaste

        October 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm

        I know. I have a mass communications degree But these are just very robotic sounding. Just a very unnatural way of speaking if they were to actually say this.

        • Jon

          October 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm

          For real. It’s like getting a press release from Kim Jong’s generals, praising him.

  6. GridS2Plaza

    October 11, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Who will be joining WTR for next year to replace Ricky?
    I would think this would be a nice seat.

    Is there any GM related drivers that might be a fit?

    • Mark - Toronto

      October 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Michael Cooper must be a serious consideration now that Cadillac’s PWC program is over.

      • Tom A.

        October 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        I was just thinking the same thing.

        • Mark - Toronto

          October 11, 2017 at 2:58 pm

          Although if you look at who is on the market from the Audi and Porsche WEC camps….it makes for some very intriguing possibilities. The Joest lineup may be interesting. IMSA seems to be on the edge of a golden age of drivers. I think most watched Castroneves being interviewed at Road Atlanta and realized that with his exuberance and fan appeal, Indycar’s loss is definitely IMSA’s gain.

  7. Jason Skow

    October 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    How about Johnny O’Connell joining Jordan next year? GM ties are there!

    • GridS2Plaza

      October 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Johnny O might be a better fit for some team wanting to run a Calloway corvette in GTD.

  8. jason

    October 11, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Does the Penske team consider Ricky Taylor a better driver than Jordan?

    • Who Knows Really

      October 11, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Older and with more experience in Prototypes is my guess…

    • Jon

      October 11, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      He was this year. Put the car on pole a lot and was the more consistent, faster of the two on track.

      • Georg

        October 11, 2017 at 4:39 pm

        Putting it on pole doesn’t count for much when comparing to one’s teammate because apart from the long races, every single team saves the faster driver to finish the race meaning the slower one qualifies and starts.

        I didn’t follow this season closely enough to compare the two brothers, just saying that’s how it generally goes in the short IMSA races.

  9. Casey

    October 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I bet Fassler is in for WTR.

    • Thomas

      October 11, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Isn’t Fassler still with Audi?

  10. Davy

    October 11, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I would’ve liked to see Penske going up against a full strength WTR, instead of poaching one of their top pieces. Oh well, hopefully the Caddy and Mazda can run close to the Acuras.

    • David Chaste

      October 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

      All tactics are just as important as the battle itself. Sun tzu said something to that effect.

      So you dont have to battle your opponent at his full strength if you have made use of good tactics.

  11. Johannes275

    October 11, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Better get going, Mazda-Joest. Everyone else has said what they’d be doing, so we’re waiting on you.

  12. David Chaste

    October 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Take this how you want, so here goes.

    Jordan is the faster driver. But GM did not want to loose their marquee sportscar star so they would not release him.

    If you look back yourselves you’ll notice that Jordan was racing for Corvette at lemans before Ricky. And corvette gave him the last stint at lemans ahead of the rehular drivers because the aston was much faster and they wanted the ultimate pace to try to beat it.

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