Former Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi will join Acura Team Penske for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the team announced Friday.
Rossi will share the wheel of the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 with full-season drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, replacing Graham Rahal in the lineup for the opening two rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The 27-year-old Californian, who is set a full-season IndyCar Series campaign with the Honda-powered Andretti Autosport squad, will make his first sports car racing start since taking part in the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the DeltaWing.
“I have watched and raced against Team Penske in IndyCar and I have a lot of respect for the organization and what they do and how they do it,” said Rossi.
“I really appreciate Andretti Autosport for allowing me the opportunity to represent Acura in some of the biggest sports car races in the world. I can’t wait to work with Helio and Ricky, to learn from them and hopefully contribute to some wins and a championship for Acura Team Penske.”
The team’s No. 6 lineup remains unchanged for 2019 with Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron returning for the full season alongside Simon Pagenaud for the Michelin Endurance Cup races.
It’s not yet been announced if Rossi will also join Castroneves and Taylor for the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans.
“Alexander will be a great addition to the Acura Team Penske lineup in 2019 and all of us at Acura are very excited about our prospects for the coming season,” said Art St. Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development.
“When you add Alexander to the experienced team of Helio, Ricky, Juan and Dane – and with Simon returning for the endurance events – we are extremely proud of the talented and accomplished Acura Team Penske driver lineup.
“We look forward to our second opportunity to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the ARX-05.
“Alexander has been a great representative of Honda in the IndyCar Series, from his Indy 500 victory in 2016 to competing for the title this past season. We are pleased to have this opportunity to build our relationship with him through our sports car program.”
Rahal, meanwhile, tweeted that he stood down from the endurance role due to size issues inside the cockpit for the 6’2-tall driver.