Acura plans to continue into the LMDh era of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship according to Honda Performance Development President Ted Klaus, who said they would support their teams’ ambitions of contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Announced on Wednesday, both Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing have signed multi-year agreements with the luxury automaker to campaign Acura ARX-05 DPis beginning in 2021.
It includes the vision of continuing into the LMDh platform, which is expected to debut in late 2022 ahead of a full-season rollout the following year.
When asked by Sportscar365 about Acura’s plans for the future, Klaus said it’s their “intention” to move forward although are “not confirming a program today.”
“Although clearly that is our desire together,” said Klaus. “We expected the detailed regs to be out on the Le Mans weekend [in June]. That didn’t happen. We’re getting them today, thanks to IMSA.
“It’s been a long process and it’s super exciting about the possibility of the hybrid era. It’s going to bring in fresh ideas, fresh sponsorship.
“The hybrid era is going to be big for us as HPD. Give us some time to go through the regulations with Wayne and Mike, and make sure we understand it all and then there will be an announcement in the future.
“As long as everyone keeps all of the commitments over the past few years that we’ve been talking, with DPi 2.0 and LMDh, it is our intention to go forward.
“But since we haven’t seen the actual details… We’re going to need some time to sort it out. We look forward to studying the rules and look forward to finding a way to go forward as Acura Motorsports.”
Klaus said a delay in the regulations, which were initially due for the full season in 2022, makes sense from HPD’s standpoint.
It would likely result in another two seasons with the current DPi regulations.
“From a practical standpoint I think it will land in 2023,” Klaus said. “That’s probably a much more practical timeframe for all of us.”
Taylor: Le Mans Return is a “Definite” if Acura Commits to LMDh
Wayne Taylor admitted that his switch from Cadillac to Acura was largely fueled by the manufacturer’s desire to support teams in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Taylor, who claimed victory in the French endurance classic as a driver in the LMP1 class in 1998, said winning Le Mans overall as a team owner is the “last thing” he has yet to achieve in the sport.
“I think what HPD is building and preparing for, what Mike and I are going to run, and based on the regulations that have come out… If they go down the same way that Ted and I believe they are going, then for me Le Mans is a definite,” said Taylor.
“The last two or three years, I told [Cadillac] I have unfinished business based on what happened to the three-year program at Le Mans.
“We won Daytona three times and that job has been done. The last thing is that I want to win Le Mans overall.
“It’s a very big draw for me and was one of the big things that got this ball rolling.”
MSR co-owner Mike Shank, which made its Le Mans debut in 2016 in a LMP2 class Honda-powered Ligier JS P2, said his team would also be prepared to return.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure we’re there in 2023 or 2024, or whenever that timing is correct,” he said.
“We’ll be waiting anxiously waiting on how this thing comes out with the rules and everything. We’re ready to do it and have some experience doing it and would love to do it.”
Klaus added that any international program with an Acura LMDh would come with Honda badging, as is the case with the Acura NSX GT3 Evo program globally.