Ten hours of racing came down to a nail-biter finish that saw Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) not only capture its second overall Petit Le Mans victory, but also claim the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The 2022 Petit Le Mans was the 25th edition of the 10-hour race, as Meyer Shank Racing wrote the final chapter of the IMSA DPi book with a dramatic victory. The team is looking forward to the next chapter in top-level Prototype competition as it prepares for IMSA GTP competition starting in 2023 with the all-new Acura ARX-06 LMDh.
Having won the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Simon Pagenaud as part of the driver roster, Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves bookended their IMSA season with another huge victory on Saturday in the season finale onboard the No. 60 MSR Acura ARX-05 DPi.
The team raced to five consecutive runner-up finishes throughout the season setting the stage for a final battle for the IMSA title on Saturday.
Racing a Honda-powered Prototype, Meyer Shank Racing won the 2016 edition of the Motul Petit Le Mans, which marked the final race for the Daytona Prototype class. The team was selected to run the factory Acura GTD program with the Acura NSX GT3 the following year.
MSR brought Acura its first-ever victory with the NSX in 2017 in Detroit and went on to win again at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen just one month later. The team continued its relentless push with the GT3 platform, scoring seven race wins and seven pole positions with the Acura NSX between 2017 and 2020.
Having finished second in the 2018 IMSA championship, the team continued to push, scoring back-to-back championship titles in 2019 and 2020 with the Acura NSX before moving to the DPi category with Acura in 2021. The 2022 season saw Blomqvist qualify the No. 60 MSR Acura on pole three times, including a key pole position at Road Atlanta to narrow the championship gap to just 14-points ahead of the 10-hour classic.
MSR focused on running a consistent race, staying out of trouble and putting in the work in the final hour of the race. It all came down to the final pit stop which saw Blomqvist pit from second on lap 393, right on the tail of the championship leading car. A perfect execution of a full-service stop by the No. 60 crew saw Blomqvist released from pit lane in the overall race lead.
One final restart put Blomqvist well into the lead as he seamlessly maneuvered through traffic with just 30-minutes left. Blomqvist continued to extend his lead when a final full course caution came out with under four minutes left on the clock. Blomqvist brought it home in the race lead, and with it the 2022 IMSA championship title.
The Petit Le Mans victory marked yet another significant team accomplishment with Honda Performance Development which has so far also included a history-making fourth Indianapolis 500 victory for Helio Castroneves in 2021. That relentless push will continue on Monday as the team takes to the track in the first official IMSA test of the all-new GTP class machines at Road Atlanta.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of this entire team. I’m honestly at a loss for words right now. We had such a trying season, lots of ups and downs, but when we needed it most, the guys made it happen. To win this championship for Acura and HPD is everything that we have worked towards since I’ve been in IMSA. Today, the drivers, the team, everyone executed perfectly – we kept calm, had a great strategy going and gave it our all until the very end and all of that work showed today.”
“Wow, we won the race and the championship! I can’t thank the entire team enough for the hard work they have put in all year. This championship definitely did not come easy, but all the guys and girls never gave up and we brought it home today. The car was really good, I managed to get a gap quite early. I was starting to get a bit brave in traffic at the end there, I had to be. Obviously, we know Filipe (Albuquerque) is very aggressive in traffic and I had to do the same. I think some things didn’t go our way this season but ultimately, I think this one was meant to be. I haven’t felt this felling in a car in a long, long time. When there is something to chase and you really feel on top of the car, and I felt like I was able to go that little extra mile. I wasn’t giving up today, there was no way this was going down without a fight.”
“Full credit to the entire team and for Meyer Shank to come away with victory and the championship, that’s something really special. We won the two that counted most and the championship. This race definitely was not easy and there were moments where I thought this could end badly, but the car really came alive at night. Tom did an amazing job at the end of the race there and we brought it home in the lead. I can’t thank the team and the entire crew for all of their hard work all season, they all deserve this one!”
“I’m so glad to be a part of this team and drive with Tom and Olly. Starting off the year by winning at Daytona was amazing. Now to finish out the season with another win and the championship is a great feeling. I came into the race weekend with the mentality that I’m going to drive like I am a part of this championship, so to be able to add to what these guys have already done is a really good feeling.”
Source. Sunday Group
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