Team Penske 2018 IMSA Team Announced

Team Penske Photo

Ricky Taylor and IndyCar drivers Pagenaud and Rahal add star power to Team Penske’s sports car program

by Joe Jennings

2017 IMSA prototype champion Ricky Taylor along with Verizon IndyCar stars Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal were introduced today as additions to the newly formed Acura Team Penske sports car program starting with the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Taylor will co-drive with IndyCar star Helio Castroneves throughout the season while Pagenaud and Rahal will join the two-car team for the endurance races at Daytona and Sebring.
Previously, Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron were announced as drivers of the other Acura ARX-05 Prototype.

Joining the three drivers in today’s press conference were Tim Cindric, Team Penske president and Art St. Cyr, Honda Performance Development president.

“To join a team like Team Penske is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Taylor exclaimed after completing a highly successful season co-driving with his brother Jordan. Driving the family’s Wayne Taylor Racing DPi, the pair dominated the Prototype class and swept to the top rung of IMSA’s championship podium.

Leaving the family fold was a difficult decision for Taylor but it represented a new challenge for the second-generation driver. “This is a new challenge and amazing opportunity and both Jordan and my dad would say I was stupid not to take the offer,” Ricky Taylor said.

Cindric and St. Cyr said many dynamics were considered before making the final decision, to include on-track and off-track demeanor representing the Acura and Penske brands along with the ability to work together with everyone on the team.

According to Cindric, Team Penske now has 14 drivers under its flag, which can be a challenge in building a cohesive unit. “A lot of dynamics go into choosing a line-up,” he said. “We need to put together the best collective effort.”

Cindric noted that when Taylor tested their IndyCar earlier in year, he made a very favorable impression, which set the wheels turning. The test was done under the watchful eye of Pagenaud and other Team Penske staffers.

St. Cyr acknowledged that F1 ace Jenson Button was considered but “other circumstances precluded his involvement in the program.”

Rahal and Pagenaud expressed their satisfaction in being chosen for the program and Rahal tipped that his dad Bobby had longed to be part of Team Penske and although it never happened, he was excited to know that his son will do so.

Team Penske now has its two Acura ARX-05s on premises and they plan to have a full-scale testing program underway by next week – at least one or two times a month between now and January.

Obviously, Team Penske and Acura plan to leave no stone unturned in their quest for a successful roll-out and the sports-car world should benefit from their involvement in IMSA.

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