MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Recently-crowned IMSA Prototype champion Ricky Taylor will leave his family sports car team for different pastures next season, joining Acura Team Penske as its fourth and final full-time driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Taylor will team up with Helio Castroneves in one of the team’s two full-time Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international entries, joining the previously-announced pairing of Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.
Graham Rahal and 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Simon Pagenaud will fill out the team’s endurance driver roster, beginning at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January and continuing with the 12 Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans.
“Adding a champion sports car driver in Ricky will help our team grow and develop,” said team owner Roger Penske. “Ricky had a phenomenal season in 2017. 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.”
“Having that experience, along with the winning pedigree of Helio, Juan and Dane, provides a great platform as we launch the Acura Team Penske program next season. When you add Simon and Graham for the endurances races, I feel like we have a strong lineup for Daytona and Sebring.”
“We are really excited to have three more great drivers join the Acura Team Penske program and round out our lineup for next season,” said Art St. Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development. “Ricky will be a great addition and putting him with Helio will make for a formidable duo to join the other team of Juan and Dane. Then when you add Simon and Graham, who have each driven for Acura in the past, we couldn’t be more excited about getting the ARX-05 ready to go for Daytona.”
At Petit Le Mans, Taylor clinched the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Prototype title, racing alongside his younger brother Jordan. Wayne Taylor Racing enjoyed a dominant start to 2017, winning a record five-consecutive races to start the season, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Ricky has earned 19 wins in prototype competition since 2008.
His first opportunity to work with Team Penske came in February of this year, when he tested the Indy car normally driven by Pagenaud at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course.
“It was a great experience getting a chance to test an Indy car with Team Penske, but to get a call from Roger Penske offering the opportunity to drive one of his race cars full time – well, that’s a life-changing opportunity,” said Taylor. “We have had a lot of success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship the last few seasons with my dad’s team, including winning both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Championship this year.”
“I’m definitely ready for the next challenge in my career and I couldn’t be more excited to join Team Penske and work with Helio, Juan and Dane to launch the new factory Acura effort and start winning with the ARX-05 in 2018.”
In addition to his IMSA racing experience, Taylor has raced in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans four times, with best finishes of 14th overall (2014) and fifth in class (2013).
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