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Acura: Strength of Teams ‘Helps A Lot’ Ahead of GTP Debut

Acura leaning on MSR, WTR’s experience after not undertaking endurance test with ARX-06…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

The strength of its two championship-winning teams will help Acura get over the hurdle of not conducting an endurance test with its ARX-06 car ahead of next weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona according to Honda Performance Development President and technical director David Salters.

Out of the four manufacturers debuting LMDh machinery, Acura is the only brand to not have attempted a continuous long-distance on-track test with its car prior to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener, with Porsche and Cadillac completing 36 and 24-hour continuous runs, respectively, and BMW aborting its planned 24-hour run due to mechanical issues.

While a 24-hour test was understood to have been on Acura’s initial agenda, supply chain-related delays altered its testing schedule early in the running.

Salters said he’s instead focusing on the experience from both Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport to help carry its charge into the race.

“Obviously, you accumulate a lot of mileage on the parts,” he said. “It’s not like the parts have not been subject to the loads and conditions that need to be.

“In terms of powertrain and stuff, these things work day and night and send themselves through huge amounts of endurance and stuff.

“Father Christmas didn’t come this year because we were sending the powertrains through all this endurance [rig testing].

“We rig test various parts but really, the reason for [not doing a 24-hour test], is just where our program was and just trying to prioritize what we’re trying to achieve.

“Also, [it was] down to where we are with our preparation, our parts supply, what we’re trying to get out of the program.

“Things got very tight at the end so you end up having to make priorities.”

MSR, which won the 2022 DPi championship with the Acura ARX-05, heads into the Rolex 24 as defending race winners, an event that WTR has won four times out of the last six years.

“Plainly, you miss a few things in terms of core preparation and procedures and stuff [by not doing an endurance test] but we’re in a very fortunate position,” said Salters.

“Our teams have been running in IMSA at the highest level, and reasonably successfully, for the last few years. They have a rough idea of what to do!

“I think that helps us a lot. It’s about prioritizing on where you’re going with your car, really.

“Between the skill of our teams, which has been ably demonstrated in the last season or two, and the skill of our people, we’ll see where we get to.

“Would you have done some stuff differently again? I’m sure we’d all do stuff differently again, to be honest with you. Probably starting a year earlier would have been good!

“It is what it is. We believe we’ve done the preparation that we need and we’ll find out.”

When asked if he feels Acura is in a good position heading into the race, Salters replied with “more time, more parts” with a laugh, referencing the two things that all four LMDh manufacturers could arguably agree upon.

“We’re just about keeping our head above water,” he said. “We’ll see. It’s a real challenge. We’re not exactly where we want to be, that’s the truth of it.

“Maybe you never are, I don’t know. We’re just about OK. Everyone’s trying to work as a team and be sensible.

“Let’s go out there and see if we can make a fast race car. That’s Plan A. Plan B: can we keep it in one piece? We’ll see how far we get down to the plans.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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