Recently crowned IMSA Sportscar champion Ricky Taylor will join the Team Penske/Acura sportscar project next season.
"It was a great experience getting a chance to test an Indy auto 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. Penske will run two Acura ARX-05 prototypes next year, with the other auto driven by Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.
In addition to Taylor's full-season commitment, Penske announced that Pagenaud and fellow IndyCar driver Graham Rahal will join the team for the endurance rounds at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.
Taylor, 28, will partner three-time Indianapolis 500 victor Helio Castroneves behind the wheel of the new Acura ARX-05, which is set to make its competition debut at the Daytona 24 Hours in January.
Taylor just finished an incredible IMSA WeatherTech season at last weekend's Petit Le Mans.
Taylor won the IMSA prototype title with brother Jordan in a Cadillac DPi-V.R entered by the family Wayne Taylor Racing team.
"Adding a champion sports auto driver in Ricky will help our team grow and develop", said Penske in a statement. "He brings a great deal of sportscar experience and his knowledge of the cars, the race tracks and the series overall will be a big benefit to our team".
"I've been hoping for the opportunity to work with Team Penske in the endurance races for next year and I'm excited to get the opportunity", said Pagenaud.
Penske's announcement appears to rule out Jenson Button, who expressed an interest in racing in IMSA last weekend at Suzuka, from fulfilling a third driver role for the squad, as had been suggested. Both drivers are known for their open-wheel work, but they've got some great sports vehicle creds on their CVs too-Rahal won Daytona in 2011 and Pagenaud has 10 American Le Mans Series wins to his credit.
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.
Rahal has previously driven Acura's NSX GT vehicle and is targeting a second overall win at Daytona in 2018 in the prototype class. They could make life hard for Cadillac, Nissan, and Mazda Team Joest.