10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
For Penney there is no better place to start their European campaign: "Racing are a magnificent side, they've got undoubted potential, and for us to get them early is going to be a real challenge.
"If they're up to the task and excited about the opportunity then they will be a handful. We're striking them at home at Stade de France in Paris, so it's a fantastic rugby venue for the boys to play on and I think it will be a really good launching pad for our European campaign."
Munster's first home game sees Edinburgh travel to Thomond Park in Round 2 and then they face a classic double header against Saracens in December with Wembley mooted as a possible venue for the English leg of the tie.
Penney is confident that the 'Red Army' will once again prove vital in the campaign: "Having Saracens and Edinburgh also in our pool has given us some real quality opposition and they are all strong sides so when they visit Thomond Park it's going to be important that our passionate supporters get in there and give the boys a lot of support which I'm sure they will.
He is also looking forward to the squad proving their mettle on the European stage: "We just need to be as good as we can be and produce the right performance that the Munster boys know they are capable of.
"Without doubt the Heineken Cup is obviously where it's at, in terms of the level of footy the boys can aspire to play outside of international rugby and I'm really excited about the European championship."