Team Speed at Long Beach Grand Prix: 2009 Acura ARX-02a LMP is a Real Winner
Piloted by IndyCar legends Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, Acura LMP snagged eight wins in its only season, including Long Beach.
Every year around tax time, the streets of Long Beach, California are transformed into a street circuit nicknamed “The Monaco of American Racing,” the Long Beach Grand Prix. Since 1975, open-wheel cars have mixed up with celebrities, sun, surf, and sand for one amazing weekend. Thus, it only makes sense for us at Team Speed to check out the happenings this past weekend.
Thus, we found ourselves wondering through an amazing selection of vehicles who’ve made Long Beach their home for a brief moment, such as this 2009 Acura ARX-02a LMP.
For one season, two teams used the Acura ARX-02a take home a total of eight wins, piloted by legends like Scott Dixon, David Brabham, and Dario Franchitti. The example here, campaigned by DeFerran Motorsports, took the pole in its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring, and won the 2009 American Le Mans Series event at Long Beach in the LMP1 class.
The ARX-02a helped Acura win the manufacturer’s championship at the end of the 2009 ALMS season, while giving Patron Highcroft Racing the driver’s championship ahead of the DeFerran. This particular DeFerran ARX-02a wears the white-and-silver livery made in tribute to motorsport legend Jim Hall, whose wild creations for Chaparral Cars helped define Can-Am.
And just like the innovations Hall introduced to racing via Can-Am, Acura gave its ARX-02a a few innovations of its own, as it’s the first to wear the same size tires and wheels up front as well as out back, and is the first to mount its rear spoiler upon a ‘swan neck’ mount, allowing for better airflow over the wing for increased downforce.
The heart of the ARX-02a isn’t all that big, but it was more than enough to get those wins: a 4.0-liter LM-AR7 normally aspirated, fuel-injected V8 putting over 620 horses. Combined with the 1,984-pound carbon-fiber monocoque, it’s safe to say this car flew around the corners wherever it went in its hunt for the checkered flag.
Photos for Team Speed by David Ciminelli