The Acura ARX-06 claimed the first win of IMSA’s LMDh prototype era at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Ahead of the race weekend, Acura released a documentary showing how the car was designed.
Dubbed the GTP by IMSA in reference to the class of prototypes from the sanctions agency’s glory days in the 1980s, the LMDh regime includes hybrid powertrains and chassis from approved suppliers, but gives manufacturers freedom in design and choice of chassis to combine the internal combustion engine with special hybrid components.
2023 Acura ARX-06 LMDh race car teaser
Taking advantage of the relatively open design rules, the ARX-06 was designed by Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles and went through the same design process as the automaker’s road cars, complete with clay modeling and a wall of sketches. While the designers started with a base chassis from Oreca, the same supplier used for the outgoing ARX-05 DPi prototype, the looks are unequivocally Acura.
Acura chose a custom-built 2.4-liter twin-turbo V-6 from Honda Performance Development to pair with the aforementioned rule-bound hybrid hardware, including a Bosch and Williams Advanced motor-generator unit engineering battery pack and a 6-sequential manual transmission from Xtrac.
The regulations provide for a maximum output of 670 hp, of which 40 to 67 hp are electricity, depending on the route. The hybrid system enables purely electric driving even at low speeds, including when leaving the pits and when driving to and from the garages – a first for IMSA racing.
Acura won several IMSA championships under the old DPi format, but as team principal Wayne Taylor notes in the documentation, the ARX-06 is a clean-sheet design. That required close collaboration between his team, Wayne Taylor Racing, and Meyer Shank Racing, the other team running an ARX-06 in the 2023 IMSA season, to develop the car before they could compete on track.
That development work paid off at Daytona where the number 60 Meyer Shank Racing ARX-06 driven by Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Hello Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud took pole and race win. Wayne Taylor Racing’s number 10 ARX-06, driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Brendon Hartley and Ricky Taylor, finished 4.1 seconds behind its sister car. Watch the full documentary to see how this race winner came to be.