Acura Team Penske revealed on Friday that 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi will join the team for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance events at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Rossi is a five-time race winner in the Verizon IndyCar Series and will share the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype International (Dpi) with fulltime Acura Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor.

Team Penske IndyCar Series driver Simon Pagenaud will return to compete in the endurance events with the team in 2019, racing the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi with full-time drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.

"I have watched and raced against Team Penske in IndyCar and I have a lot of respect for the organization and what they do and how they do it," Rossi said. "I really appreciate Andretti Autosport for allowing me the opportunity to represent Acura in some of the biggest sports car races in the world. I can’t wait to work with Helio and Ricky, to learn from them and hopefully contribute to some wins and a championship for Acura Team Penske."

Rossi became a championship contender in his second full-time season and has a resume that includes Formula 1 starts and numerous European open-wheel formula championships. He finished second in the standings this year and has five overall IndyCar wins.

He replaces Graham Rahal at the Acura team.

"Alexander will be a great addition to the Acura Team Penske lineup in 2019 and all of us at Acura are very excited about our prospects for the coming season," said Art St. Cyr, President of Honda Performance Development. "When you add Alexander to the experienced team of Helio, Ricky, Juan and Dane - and with Simon returning for the endurance events – we are extremely proud of the talented and accomplished Acura Team Penske driver lineup.

"We look forward to our second opportunity to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the ARX-05. Alexander has been a great representative of Honda in the IndyCar Series, from his Indy 500 victory in 2016 to competing for the title this past season. We are pleased to have this opportunity to build our relationship with him through our sports car program."
Team Penske returned to sports car competition in 2018 with a two-car Acura DPi program in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. The team produced one victory – with Castroneves and Taylor at the Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course in May – and produced three poles and nine top-five finishes.

The 2019 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship begins with the Roar Before the 24 January 4-6, followed by the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 26.

Source: Autoweek

December 7, 2018