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Eriksen: Customer Acura DPis ‘Not a Priority’

Acura focusing on achieving “consistent success” with Penske first before evaluating customer DPis…

Photo: IMSA

Having Acura ARX-05 DPis on the grid in the hands of customer teams is currently ‘not a priority’ according to Honda Performance Development COO Steve Eriksen.

Acura, which is entering its second season in partnership with Team Penske, appears unlikely to offer the ORECA-built DPis to additional teams in 2020, despite what’s understood to be a two-year exclusivity clause with Penske that’s set to come to an end.

While not completely ruling out customer cars, Eriksen said their short-term focus is on securing “consistent success” with its current factory partner first before making any longer-term decisions.

Since its breakthrough first win at Mid-Ohio last year, Acura Team Penske has yet to return to victory lane in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, in what turned into an up-and-down second half of the season.

“We’ll have to see [on customer cars], probably not, but we’ll just see how the year plays out,” Eriksen told Sportscar365.

“We all want to see the success happen for Acura Team Penske that one would predict.

“That’s our key focus right now, achieving the consistent success that we believe we’re capable of. After that, we’ll see what plays out politically and otherwise.”

While Acura’s previous prototype program in the American Le Mans Series from 2007-09 featured multiple factory teams, Eriksen said that unique relationship made won’t be replicated with the ARX-05.

“In the previous iteration of Acura, even though there were multiple cars with multiple teams, they were all working together as if they were a single team,” he said.

“I’m not opposed to having customer cars. But let’s prove the quality of our product first.”

Cadillac Currently “At Capacity” in DPi Customer Support

Aside from the privateer Nissan Onroak DPis, which are now in the hands of CORE autosport, only Cadillac has openly supported customers with DPi machinery, with the defending manufacturers’ champion set to have six Cadillac DPi-V.Rs on the grid full-time this year.

While currently at capacity, dictated by the lead time required by engine supplier ECR, Cadillac Racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser said they will evaluate additional requests as they come in.

Klauser has been an advocate for all manufacturers to offer their cars to customers, something IMSA has elected to not mandate.

“I would love to see our competitors do the same and I’m hoping that by us putting ourselves out there for that that we inspire them to do,” she told Sportscar365.

“The more we can grow the DPi field, the better for all of us.”

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

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