Having joined forces with Andretti International at the start of the 12 months, the Indianapolis-based staff will develop to a second Acura ARX-06 in IMSA’s class in 2024, successfully taking on the entry of the departing Meyer Shank Racing outfit.
It is going to imply Acura will function by way of a single manufacturing unit staff subsequent 12 months, just like how Porsche and BMW run their GTP programmes with Penske and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing respectively.
Albuquerque, who joined WTR upon its change to the Acura fold in 2021, believes the staff will take pleasure in considerably improved prospects subsequent 12 months now that it has two automobiles that can run in collaboration with one another.
“The staff goes to be very, very sturdy,” the Portuguese driver informed Autosport.
“We [Acura] have been with two automobiles in several groups. We had been sharing information however not likely placing a programme collectively on what ‘you do this, I do this’.
“We had been type of unbiased which HPD [Honda Performance Development] allowed us to be and compete with one another. [Meyer Shank Racing] had been fearless rivals, they had been actually good.
“I believe subsequent 12 months can be stronger as a result of the conferences can be collectively and be extra united as a result of we’re below the identical trailer and be extra open.
“I believe we are able to plan the weekends, what we’re evolving in, the place we’re considering we’re going as a substitute of simply having one automobile. I believe we can be stronger.”
Photograph by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images
#60 Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Colin Braun, Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves #10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz
Acura misplaced the IMSA title for the primary time since 2019 this 12 months, with WTR/Andretti and MSR groups ending simply behind the championship-winning Action Express Racing Cadillac squad – which is mockingly a single car-team.
Albuquerque says having two automobiles in a single staff will give WTR/Andretti extra technique choices as effectively, which can additional increase the possibilities of Acura because it units out to reclaim the IMSA title in 2024.
“One thing my engineer at all times wished to have was two-car groups,” the 38-year-old defined.
“Many occasions through the IMSA races you get to some extent the place what ought to I do, which technique ought to I’m going for, ought to I brief gas now or not.
“So with two automobiles in the identical staff one goes to 1 technique, the opposite to the opposite one. So you possibly can cowl each methods.
“With one automobile every staff you do not suppose collectively, you do not know what the opposite one is doing, so you do not cowl one another and I believe that is the hyper level of getting two automobiles below the identical technique speaking.
“And that is why I believe it should make Acura stronger when it comes to securing a consequence as a result of it’s unimaginable to cowl all of the methods.
“And I keep in mind very effectively one time we had been beginning fairly effectively and the engineer went, okay ‘we now have 12 doable methods. ‘I do know what I might do if I might be within the again, however we can not cowl all people as a result of there are such a lot of eventualities that may occur’.
“However in case you have a second automobile you possibly can cowl half of that which is nice. For the entire group it is only a win, win. So one in all them will more than likely win.”
Photograph by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Autograph Session
Deletraz, who gained the LMP2 title within the World Endurance Championship with WRT this 12 months, was uncertain if the rejig in Acura’s GTP line-up will assist the Honda model, however mentioned the addition of a second automobile will most undoubtedly be a lift for WTR/Andretti.
“I can not reply this, I actually do not know,” the Swiss informed Autosport. “I do know the Meyer Shank staff however I’ve by no means been working with them.
“They had been tremendous aggressive, they did some good outcomes and for certain there was competitors between the 2 groups.
“I am actually pleased we now have two automobiles subsequent 12 months. Having two automobiles for us is nice and can enable us to check other ways, to share set-up and work collectively. “