Team Penske Names Montoya And Cameron To Pilot One Of Its IMSA Prototypes

Acura ARX-05 DPi Prototype to be campaigned in 2018 by Team Penske.

Acura ARX-05 DPi Prototype to be campaigned in 2018 by Team Penske.

by Joe Jennings

Team Penske amped up its 2018 plans for competing in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Prototype class when it announced two of its drivers for the new venture – two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and defending Prototype champion Dane Cameron. They will race one of the team’s Acura ARX-05 DPi entries.

The cars will debut in the Rolex24 at Daytona in January 2018. At a later date, drivers for a second entry will be announced along with additional drivers for the longer endurance races.

Joining Montoya and Cameron in the announcement press conference were Team Penske president Tim Cindric and Honda Performance Development vice president Steve Eriksen.

“I think it’s very exciting. We talked about it for a long time with Team Penske, myself, trying to join this program. I’m pumped,” said Montoya, a three-time Rolex24 winner. “I think working with Dane is going to be a great opportunity, somebody that has run the series, has been a champion, and is a great addition to the team.

“I think bringing in the Acura name brings performance back, and they’ll be back to winning. I think it would be amazing to get to victory lane with the Acura car. Hopefully, I can get used to having a roof over my head again. It is exciting! It is all about winning and there’s no better place to do it than at Team Penske.”

Added Cameron, who currently drives a Cadillac-powered DPi entry for Action Express Racing, “I think IMSA’s Prototype category is in a special class right now, and the series keeps continuing to grow and get more and more competitive. I think it is going to be really, really tough. It will be cool to watch this program come to life over the next couple of months as we gear up for Daytona.

“And I’m incredibly excited to joining Team Penske and Acura and be driving with Juan next season. I think we’re going to have a lot of incredible tools at our disposal to hopefully win a lot of races.”

The cars are in their infancy construction-wise but Montoya expects testing to start in late August. Adhering to his contract terms, Cameron won’t be able to participate until the 2017 IMS season concludes.

Asked why Team Penske is returning to sports-car racing, Cindric stated, “It’s the foundation of our company. It’s where we started. It’s obviously something that Roger (Penske) did as a driver, as well, so sports-car racing is really where our heritage begins.”

The congenial executive went on to say the company evaluates its program each year and has kept sports-car racing on its radar since it exited the Grand-Am series a few years ago. While they had had overtures for competing in IMSA’s GTLM class, they were more interested in being able to run for overall victories.

Team Penske knows it has a tough road ahead but it relishes challenges and has the resources and perseverance to make it happen.

Other winners in this endeavor are IMSA, sports-car racing and motorsports fans, making for an interesting 2018 season and beyond.

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