That sentiment is echoed by the other three manufacturers, as well. Since 2018, Acura competed in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class in the WeatherTech Championship alongside its popular Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) program, which won at Petit with the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 co-driven by Mario Farnbacher, Kyffin Simpson and Till Bechtolsheimer.
As that was happening, Meyer Shank Racing claimed the DPi championship with the No. 60 MSR Acura ARX-05 co-driven by Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves. The following Monday, Acura had a pair of new GTP race cars turning laps at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to prepare for the 2023 season.
The GTP and GTD programs fit Acura's North American marketing strategy.
“They’re both being used really well by Acura marketing to showcase the brand,” said Kelvin Fu, vice president of Honda Performance Development. “It was impressive when we were at Monterey Car Week (in August) to see the Acura brand along with all the other ones we’re going to be racing against. There was BMW, Cadillac and Porsche. Being able to compete against those in both GTD and GTP definitely helps and aligns with what Acura is trying to do from a marketing perspective.”
GTP checks a number of boxes for the four manufacturers that have begun the busy and complicated process of testing and refining the new hybrid-based GTP. Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche are laser-focused on the U.S. market, and they want to compete against the same manufacturers they face in the marketplace.
“That’s definitely the case,” Porsche’s Laudenbach said. “North America is one of the most important markets for our brand. Especially in IMSA, the Porsche fans at the racetracks are often owners of a Porsche sports car. We race in front of our customers. The well-known claim ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ still works for us in the U.S."