One of the brightest stars in US sports-car racing is going to work for the Captain. Team Penske that recently-crowned IMSA WeatherTech champ Ricky Taylor is joining Acura's DPi program next year. Penske also announced its two drivers for IMSA WeatherTech's endurance races, IndyCar's Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal.
These three join previously announced drivers Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Dane Cameron to create a formidable lineup. They'll all make their racing debut in Acura's new ARX-05 DPi car next January at the Daytona 24 Hours.
Taylor just finished an incredible IMSA WeatherTech season at last weekend's Petit Le Mans. Driving for Cadillac on his father's team, Wayne Taylor Racing, Ricky and his brother Jordan won five races, including Daytona and Sebring. Earlier this year, Team Penske also invited Taylor to test , where he impressed everyone.
"Adding a champion sports car driver in Ricky will help our team grow and develop," said Penske in a statement. "He brings a great deal of sports car experience and his knowledge of the cars, the race tracks and the series overall will be a big benefit to our team."
Taylor will be teamed up with Castroneves, a three-time Indy 500 winner, in the WeatherTech series.
Team Penske hasn't yet announced who Pagenaud and Rahal will be paired up with for IMSA's four endurance races. Both drivers are known for their open-wheel work, but they've got some great sports car creds on their CVs too—Rahal won Daytona in 2011 and Pagenaud has 10 American Le Mans Series wins to his credit. Both have also driven for Honda and Acura in the past.
This may be a first-year team, but it sounds like Acura and Team Penske are already in a position to get some wins next year. They could make life difficult for Cadillac, Nissan, and Mazda Team Joest.