Meyer Shank Racing announced earlier this year that they will take a break from the IMSA WeatherTech Championship for 2024 to focus on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES ended their time in the championship for now with victory in the Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta in Georgia on Saturday.
The #60 Meyer Shank Racing and starting driver Tom Blomqvist lost time early in the contest when it was caught up in a multi-car nose-to-tail incident in traffic. Suspension repairs in pit lane cost the Acura two laps, but hard work from the team and co-drivers Colin Braun and Helio Castroneves saw the #60 back on the lead lap by half distance.
With just over an hour remaining, the #60 Acura was running in seventh place; but a strategic pit call by the MSR team and a series of ultra-quick laps from Braun moved the ARX-06 up to second. Following a caution in the final hour, Braun swept around leader Renger van der Zande on a restart to take the lead maintain that advantage to the checkers.
For the first nine hours of the 10-hour endurance contest, the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport ARX-06 of Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor and Louis Deletraz was in contention for the victory, and the drivers’ and teams’ championships that would have accompanied a win. But contact with the #31 of Pipo Derani sent the Acura – with Albuquerque at the wheel – hard into the Turn 1 barrier. Albuquerque was transported to an area hospital for further examination.
Colin Braun, driver of the No.60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 commented on the victory saying:
Man, this took me back to the days of me and Renger [van der Zande] racing each other in LMPC. I’m super proud of the Meyer Shank guys, Acura and HPD. They never gave up all year. My newborn son Roxen’s here for his first race, so he’s a good luck charm. What a day. It was looking dicey for a little bit, but man it was a blast. That was all I had at the end for sure.”
Tom Blomqvist, who earlier this week passed his ROP for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway completed his final IMSA race until moving to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES full-time in 2024 commented saying:
We delivered once again, for HPD and for Acura. The boys and girls at MSR, they never give up. With a few hours to go, it looked like our race was done, but no, we made the right strategy calls and Colin absolutely killed it on that restart. That guy is phenomenal on cold tires. I couldn’t be more proud of this entire team.”
David Salters (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s second consecutive Acura Petit Le Mans victory and the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season:
Another dramatic season finale at the Petit Le Mans. This is a truly stunning sports car venue and event, made so special by the fans and the spectacular racing. We came away with a pole position and another win. Bravo! Hats off to the race craft and skill of the MSR team and its drivers. This is also a true testament to the skill of our amazing team at HPD together with the amazing team at ORECA to make a very fast, electrified Acura ARX-06 race car. It certainly attained our goal of precision crafted performance. I am especially proud of our work on the electrified power train, vehicle and control strategies – after a whole season of endurance racing we never missed a beat – what a testament to our engineering, manufacturing and assembly groups. We came here fighting for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships. Again, to be in the fight is a testament to our brilliant people and teams. We’re disappointed to fail at the end, but that’s racing, we lick our wounds and learn how to improve. I would sincerely like to thank from the heart our amazing people and our amazing fans and IMSA’s amazing team, what a season!