In the fight for a podium position for the entire race, Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) had to settle for fifth in Saturday’s Twelve Hours of Sebring, Round 2 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Stoffel Vandoorne were in the hunt all the way sharing the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Acura ARX-05 DPi, and just 0.663-seconds from a podium finish.
Blomqvist led the race for two laps shortly before the halfway mark. All three drivers ran second for multiple laps, with Blomqvist and Jarvis combining to hold the runner-up slot for 35-consecutive laps in the seventh hour.
However, despite getting better fuel mileage, the team struggled to find the competitive pace to fight for victory, especially in the cooler evening hours.
After a rash of caution flags (seven in all) near the midway point, the final four hours, 35-minutes were run under the green flag, preventing an opportunity to close up the gap to the Cadillacs.
The MSR Acura ran a clean race until just two hours remaining when a class car made a last minute move and collided into the side of Vandoorne. The first-time IMSA racer managed to keep the Acura on track and avoid any race-ending damage. Although being able to make it to the finish, the No. 60 Acura still had minor residual damage that compromised the performance for the final two hours. Blomqvist took the closing stint of the race to bring the MSR Acura home fifth.
After 36 hours of racing in the two Florida endurance classics, the WeatherTech Championship now heads to the streets of California for the 100-minute Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach April 8-10. MSR will have a big weekend in California with both of its IMSA and INDYCAR programs racing.
“It was a tough day. The weekend didn’t run too smoothly for us and I think ultimately it cost us in the race. It was a long day out there, but the boys ran a fantastic race, we really didn’t have any issues and we ran a very good race strategically. Ultimately we just didn’t have the pace. And then with a few hours to go we had damage to the car and the pace dropped off quite a bit and we weren’t really able to find any more which was a bit of a shame. It was a typical Sebring 12 hour, super tough, super hot. We just need to try and improve the car for the next time out.”
“We knew the Caddies were going to be quick, but you never stop believing that you can get a result. And there were times we were at the front, but I think that was more through our strategy. And just doing everything right. I think the ultimate pace just wasn’t there. And that’s been the same for the last two or three years here in Sebring. It’s nothing unique to this particular weekend. The Cadillacs are just particularly strong here. I think the team did a great job. We didn’t quite have the car that we would have liked to take the fight to the front, but solid points, strong team effort.”
“I had a lot of fun competing in the IMSA series and I want to thank the team for for calling me at a very last minute to compete at Sebring. I’m happy about the race we ran today because we didn’t make any mistakes from our side. Which, which was good. Just compared to the Cadillacs, it was not a good one for us as we were missing pace compared to them. But we’ve got to learn from it and take the positive from it. I think that operationally we had a really good race – we had some good pitstops and were good on strategy, so we managed to, stay in the fight for for as long as we could. Personally it was a was a great, great experience. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to race in IMSA and, who knows, I’d be keen to come back in the future.”
Source. Sunday Group