Chat with Helio Castroneves: the new generation of Acura engines in SportsCar

Chat with Helio Castroneves: the new generation of Acura engines in SportsCar

As I have already said here, in addition to participating in all NTT IndyCar Series championships, I will drive three long races in IMSA – Daytona 24, Sebring 12 and Petit Le Mans 10. In both championships, of course, for Meyer Shank. Racing competition.

IMSA has planned important changes in the technical regulations for this year, with the introduction of new cars and the adoption of a hybrid package, which means combining an internal combustion engine with an electric energy recovery system.

An alternative approach adopted by many manufacturers was to use an existing engine and introduce new features. If I had followed the same path, our engine would have been a 3.5-liter V6, the same one that equipped the ARX-05 with which I was champion in 2020 and won two Rolex 24s at Daytona (2021 and 2022), obviously with my partners.

But in our case, Acura chose to face this challenge differently. He chose creativity and daring when designing, building and developing a completely new engine, starting from a blank sheet of paper, or rather, a blank computer screen.

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From this operation led by Honda Performance Development (HPD) came the AR24e, which sits on the Acura ARX-06 chassis used by us, from Meyer Shank Racing, and Wayne Taylor Racing, two Acura-equipped championship teams in the new GTP. category (Example of Grand Tour). The 90-degree, 2.4-liter biturbo V-6 is the smallest internal combustion engine built by HPD for racing.

Just to make it clear for those who are not familiar with this nomenclature, Acura is Honda’s brand of high performance cars, but with its own Motorsport program. HPD, on the other hand, is responsible for Honda and Acura motors for competition in the United States and works together with Honda Racing, the technological arm dedicated to Formula 1.

After the tests we have done, the first official appearance of our new kit will now be on the 20th, 21st and 22nd during the Roar Before the Daytona 24, which is a combined test. But it’s the following weekend where things pick up, with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Before all that, on Sunday (15) I will do an ARX-06 shakedown in Florida. It will be at The Concours Club track, which will be used for the first time for that purpose (in last week’s column I talked about this in detail).

That’s all, friends. As you can see, I have a lot of work ahead of me and I’m really excited to be back up to speed. Hugs and until the next series!