Team Penske president Tim Cindric says the debut of the Acura ARX-05 and the team’s full-time return to sports car racing at the Rolex 24 at Daytona has been a “learning curve” that has shown the program’s potential.
The Acura DPis finished ninth and tenth after each leading early in the race although an alternator change for the No. 6 car and an accident for the No. 7 car took both out of contention.
“Most of the people in our pits had never been here before so it was a learning curve for all of us,” Cindric told Sportscar365.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I was walking down to the grid, somebody asked me that, and I said ‘It’s the first time in a long time I don’t really know what to expect.’
“I didn’t have any idea if we’d be competitive or not, or what was going to happen. We haven’t been here for so long that we didn’t know what to expect.”
Cindric explained that the damage caused by the crash with Felipe Nasr’s Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R that led to the alternator change is still under investigation.
The car sustained a heavy left-side impact although Nasr’s Cadillac, which went on to finish second, remained largely unscathed.
This led to mechanical damage, the details of which Cindric is not yet fully sure of, although the alternator was replaced.
“We think it was [an alternator failure],” he said. “It was some type of electrical failure. We changed the alternator but in seven years I’ve never had an alternator problem.”
Despite having a difficult debut race for the program, Cindric remains optimistic for the year ahead and proud of the effort the team put in.
“From our team’s perspective, to come here for our first race and have a shot of winning, I’m really proud of the team and the guys, and all the work that Acura did to get to that point,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to fight the fight at the end because I think if we were to have a chance to at least pressure those guys, it might have been a little different, but we didn’t.
“On to Sebring and it’s good to go sports car racing again.”
John Dagys contributed to this report