Defending IMSA DPi Champions and Rolex 24 At Daytona race winners Meyer Shank Racing are out to make history as the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship winners of the GTP Era. The team has already written its name in the history books after earning pole position for the twice-around-the-clock race set to take the green flag on Saturday (1:30pm ET.
Tom Blomquist set a pole time of 1:34.031-seconds on Sunday, January 23, in the No. 60 MSR Acura ARX-06 LMDh. Blomqvist will share the car with returning drivers Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, and new-for-2023, Colin Braun, who will be in the No. 60 MSR Acura for the full-season.
The 2023 IMSA season marks the debut of the GTP class which features all-new prototypes running hybrid electric/combustion engines. MSR underwent an extensive off-season test program with its new car and the hard work showed when the No. 60 dominated Roar Before the 24 practice – topping four practice session – and qualifying on the pole.
MSR has two Rolex 24 race wins to its credit; in 2022 with the No. 60 Acura DPi with drivers Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis, Castroneves, and Pagenaud and in 2012 in the No. 60 Ford-Riley driven by AJ Allmendinger, Ozz Negri, John Pew and Justin Wilson.
The most recent time MSR started from the pole position for the Rolex 24 was in 2015 where the team went on to finish fifth. MSR also drove to its first-ever Rolex 24 Hour pole position in 2008.
Though Braun is a new addition to the MSR lineup, it is not his first Rolex 24 with the team. Braun was part of MSR’s 2009 Daytona lineup and also joined the team in 2013 to set the speed record at Daytona International Speedway, posting a top speed of 222.971 mph.
The 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona goes green at 1:40pm ET on Saturday, January 28. Live coverage begins at 1:30pm ET on NBC before switching to USA at 2:30pm. SiriusXM will also host live IMSA Radio coverage throughout the entirety of the race on XM Ch. 207.
Meyer Shank Racing Driver Quotes:
“There’s a lot of anticipation going into next weekend. I’m very grateful for what we achieved at the Roar. Getting the pole was really nice and it gave the guys a lot of morale – an energy boost let’s say. There’s 24 hours of racing and there are a lot of unknowns. Hopefully we can put this bad boy in victory lane once again.”
“I feel like the team, HPD and Acura have done a really nice job making the car better and better every test that we have had. It’s crazy impressive how much more driveable and driver friendly the car is. I think it’s more true than ever that in this time of GTP, it’s so much about the team and the work and the efforts those guys have put in. This Meyer Shank Racing group has been working really, really hard to make those big gains and I think it shows in our performance.
I feel like we are in a really good spot from a preparation stand point to be able to execute in the race. I’ve done a lot of these races now and you learn there are a lot of things you can control and things you can’t control. I feel like of the things we can control, we are in really good shape and the rest is leaning on the resources and experience of the team. These guys won it last year, so they know how to do it and hopefully luck is on our side.”
“Tom (Blomqvist) did a phenomenal job last weekend with qualifying. It was a great strategy – the red flag had us a little concerned, but all credit to Meyer Shank Racing, Acura and HPD. Every time we go out on the track the car keeps getting better and better. We’re starting the race in the right position and hopefully we finish in the same position.”
“It’s been a great week for us and we have made a huge amount of progress since December. These cars are so dependent on the electronics and the HPD engineers have been able to understand the system better. The car keeps getting better every time we are on track and today we showed the potential of it. Even though we are still just scratching the surface, Tom was able to pull out that one [qualifying] lap out of nowhere. I’m really happy for everyone because there has been a lot of work in the background that nobody gets to see. It’s awesome to start from the pole after winning last year, so we are continuing a great time for Meyer Shank Racing here in Daytona.”
Source. Sunday Group