IMSA Wire: Acura Notches Landmark GTP Win with Meyer Shank Rolex 24 Repeat

Acura Notches Landmark GTP Win with Meyer Shank Rolex 24 Repeat
The New Era of WeatherTech Championship Hybrid Prototype Competition Begins with a Most Memorable Race

January 29, 2023
By Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service

Rolex 24 At Daytona Unofficial Results
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The debut of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s newest class not only lived up to expectations, but arguably outperformed it with one of the most dramatic runs to the Rolex 24 At Daytona overall victory in recent memory. It all unfolded in front of a rapt international television audience and a record crowd at Daytona International Speedway.
Meyer Shank Racing’s Tom Blomqvist drove the pole-winning No. 60 Acura ARX-06 to a 4.190-second victory, to win the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class win in the first race with hybrid-powered prototypes. It was the second consecutive and third overall Rolex 24 victory for the Meyer Shank team, which led a race-best 365 of the 783 laps, crossing the stripe 4.190 seconds ahead of Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 from Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport.
The Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-LMDh cars from Chip Ganassi Racing finished third (with driver Renger van der Zande in the No. 01) and fourth (Earl Bamber in the No. 02). The top four cars were separated by 11.176 seconds after 24 hours of racing on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.
“I knew we had a fantastic car, unbelievable,’’ said an excited Blomqvist, who won the 2022 Rolex 24 in his first race with Meyer Shank and went on to collect the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class championship. “I just have to say, a massive ‘well done’ to everyone who’s been a part of this project.
“What a car we’ve built and I’m so grateful to be able to drive that and be trusted with the duty to take it to the finish. Amazing, I was a bit nervous because the (No.) 10 car was definitely the second fastest car when it came down to it. But yeah, we held it off and had to take it to another level to secure this victory.’’
Blomqvist shared the car in the race with Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, the latter duo also part of last year’s Rolex 24 triumph. Today’s victory, in fact, is Castroneves’ third straight in the iconic race, tying late sports car legend Peter Gregg for most consecutive overall victories in sports car racing’s renowned season opener.
“This team is amazing. This is absolutely a dream come true,’’ Castroneves, the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner said after once again convincing his teammates and team owners Mike Shank and Jim Meyer to climb the track fence in celebration. “So happy to start the year like that and keep it going.’’
Pagenaud, Castroneves’ teammate on the Meyer Shank IndyCar team, was also all smiles, earning his second straight Rolex winner’s watch.
“I think I’m getting used to it,’’ he joked, adding, “I’ll tell you what, it was tough out there but it was fun. I’m going to savor this one.”
The MSR No. 60 Acura led the final 97 laps despite having to repair the gearbox midrace and worrying whether it would indeed make it to the end. It marks the third straight Rolex 24 overall victory for Acura, which also won with the WTRAndretti team in 2021.
Nine hybrid prototypes made the highly anticipated debut of the GTP class in the race. All but one were still running at the finish, including the top six overall finishers, an impressive outing for a car making its first competitive showing in one of the longest, most grueling events on the schedule.
The celebratory feeling went from track to pits to company brass. The first win in a totally new car elicited both relief and confidence. The finish of the race, the reliability and competitiveness a good sign for all.
“It feels unbelievable,’’ said David Salters, president of Honda Performance Development (HPD), which developed the race winner. “The real privilege is to work with those people (Acura teams) and achieve days like today. We all know it doesn’t happen all the time. Was it worth it? It’s been two years and I think it’s the best thing I’ve been involved in in my whole life.
“If that isn’t a demonstration of precision-crafted performance, I don’t know what is,’’ Salters added. “It’s a landmark moment. It’s the pinnacle of sports car racing.”

Proton Competition Wins Photo Finish in LMP2

By Mark Robinson

The No. 55 Proton Competition ORECA LMP2 07 went from the scrap heap to the top of the heap in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Three days after the car was significantly damaged in a Rolex 24 practice session, James Allen eked out the narrowest of victories by just 0.016 seconds over Ben Hanley in the No. 04 Crowdstrike by APR ORECA.

An intense four-car battle over the final 90 minutes led to the photo finish, with the Proton and Crowdstrike entries swapping the lead with the No. 35 TDS Racing and No. 88 AF Corse ORECAs. Hanley went to the front with 20 minutes left in the No. 04, overtaking Job Van Uitert in the No. 35 with a bold pass leading to the infield section that involved contact between the cars and sent Van Uitert off course and to an eventual fourth-place finish.

Allen moved ahead of Nicklas Nielsen in the No. 88 AF Corse ORECA and into second place with seven minutes to go, then the 36-year-old Australian set his sights on Hanley ahead. Lapped traffic allowed Allen to slice the deficit and nearly grab the LMP2 lead on the next-to-last lap. Unsuccessful in that attempt but instilled with confidence, Allen drafted Hanley through Turns 3 and 4 of the Daytona oval on the last lap, pulled alongside in the trioval and nudged ahead as they took the checkered flag.

“Going into the final lap at the start, I saw that I actually did get in front of him before the line,” Allen said, “so I thought there’s no point trying to force any late-braking moves or anything silly. I could just get him going down the final straight and that’s kind of what I did.”

Even though he wasn’t sure he did.

“The spotter came over the radio and said we won, and I still didn’t believe it,” Allen admitted. “I was like, ‘Are you sure?’”

It was quite the recovery for Allen and co-drivers Fred Poordad, Francesco Pizzi and Gianmaria Bruni, who each collected their first Rolex 24 victory. The No. 55 ORECA sustained significant damage in a practice crash on Thursday, but the Proton crew worked overtime to repair it for the race.

“Luckily, ORECA makes a very strong tub because it was still intact,” explained Allen. “But the drive shaft was buried in the diff and took the gearbox with it. The whole rear end and all the bodywork had to come off, all the suspension. It was a very long job. It was really a big job by everyone on the team and I really appreciate it. They managed to get it done and the car was on the grid.”

No. 17 AWA Team Cruises to Victory in LMP3

By Godwin Kelly
The No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 turned the Le Mans Prototype (LMP3) class race into a 24-hour romp as drivers Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill dominated at Daytona.
“It was a relief (to see the checkered flag),” Boyd said. “All the boys were laughing at me because every two minutes on the radio I was asking how long was left.”
Most other cars in the class faced mechanical or other issues during the race. The margin of victory for the No. 17 AWA Duqueine over the second-place No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320 was a whopping 12 laps.
“My teammates built that lead,” Mantella said. “My job was to keep the car clean and stay out of trouble.”
The No. 17 car went to the lead for the first time on Lap 315, pushing past the No. 33 Sean Creech Ligier JS P320. Those two cars had a pitched battle until Lap 634 when the No. 33 went behind the wall for lengthy repairs to fix a shifting issue.
“I was actually more nervous (with the large lead) than fighting with the other car,” Varrone said. “It was more nervous than when we were fighting another car because, if you lose, that’s OK. But if you lose with such a massive lead, it would hurt more.”
It was the first IMSA victory for Mantella, Boyd and Varrone. Merrill now has two career IMSA wins.
When the Creech entry had mechanical problems, no other LMP3 car was able to give chase. Creech climbed back up the leaderboard to score the second-place finish.
“As always, a hard-fought (Rolex 24),” Creech said in a post-race tweet. “Once again, we brought it home P2. Proud of a super effort by the entire team to keep us on track in a race of survival.”
Sean Creech Motorsport, which will run the entire series, didn’t go home empty handed, leaving Daytona with the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points lead.
Rounding out the podium was the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier with drivers John DeAngelis, Christopher Allen, Connor Bloum and Cameron Shields.

IMSA Wire – A Star is Born: Tom Blomqvist

A Star is Born: Tom Blomqvist
The Last 12 Months Have Revealed a Hidden Gem

February 2, 2023
By Tony DiZinno
IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Nearly a decade ago in the 2014 Formula 3 European Championship, three young drivers combined to win 25 of 33 races and swept the top three in points.
Two of them made it to Formula 1 by 2016. The third embarked on a different career odyssey.
Esteban Ocon won that championship. Max Verstappen finished third.
And Tom Blomqvist finished second.
If ever there was a doubt about the talent possessed by the British-born Swedish son of rally legend Stig Blomqvist, look no further than the top competitors he raced against in that single junior season.
So how, then, has the 29-year-old’s star risen so much only in the last year since joining Meyer Shank Racing in the top-level prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship?
It takes a second to reflect on Blomqvist’s journey, which has been an unusual path toward the top.
He raced Formula E cars, DTM touring cars and GT cars, including a full season in the WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class with BMW M Team RLL in 2019.
But through either tough luck or adverse circumstances, he never finished better than fifth in points in any single season.
A breakthrough 2021 season racing Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) cars in Europe and Asia, downforce-type cars that more closely mirrored his junior open-wheel programs, quickly reestablished Blomqvist on the map.
Arguably his biggest “wow” moment came in defeat, when he lost to another LMP2 competitor in a photo finish at that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
He finished second in that year’s FIA World Endurance Championship and emerged as a top-flight prototype candidate as IMSA teams readied for the final season of Daytona Prototype international (DPi) competition and the launch of the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) era.
Mike Shank then made a call that’s changed both individuals’ trajectories since an initial test at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in the fall of 2021.
“I started looking at his numbers and I’m like, ‘We should test this guy,’” Shank said.
“He got in the car and just slayed it. I called (Jim Meyer, team co-owner), I said, ‘I’ve got our guy. There’s no question about it.’”
Meyer echoed the thoughts, saying, “I don’t even know who this guy is. (Shank) goes, ‘Leave it to me,’ and then literally one minute later he said, ‘We’re done. We have who we need.’”
From a strong first impression to an even stronger 2022, Blomqvist emerged as perhaps the DPi driver of the season with a run of form few saw coming.
With three poles, bookend wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Motul Petit Le Mans and the last DPi championship (co-driving with Oliver Jarvis), Blomqvist was dynamite a year ago. He proved his quiet 2019 IMSA GTLM campaign didn’t accurately reflect his potential.

His 2022 Rolex 24 drive revealed a star turn, but his 2023 Rolex 24 was perhaps even better given the newness of the GTP formula.
With Rolex 24 qualifying returning to the traditional format of fastest single lap, a red flag left Blomqvist with one lap to set a flyer on new tires – and he delivered. In the race itself, he managed to set the 10 fastest single laps.
He anchored the No. 60 Acura ARX-06 he shared with new recruit Colin Braun along with IndyCar aces Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves en route to Meyer Shank’s second – and Acura’s third – straight Rolex 24 win.
What sayeth the man himself? Humility comes first for the soft-spoken driver who just is focused on the job at hand.
“Obviously I have to thank the team for putting the faith in me for both those parts,” Blomqvist said.
“I think what’s so special about this team is, we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers.”
It seems his bosses will have to provide the kudos.
“We love Tom. He’s the real deal, isn’t he? Immensely talented, super smart, and on it,” said David Salters, president of Honda Performance Development (HPD), which develops the Acura.
“He reminds me a little bit when (Robert) Wickens came into IndyCar out of DTM,” Shank reflected. “He truly believes he’s the fastest guy out there, and he proved it tonight.”
“Who can forget his qualifying run last week? It was incredible, just an incredible story,” Meyer added.
“We’re thrilled to be in the Tom Blomqvist business.”

IMSA Wire: Takeaways from the 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona

Takeaways from the 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona
The 61st Running of the Twice-Around-the-Clock Endurance Classic was one for the Record Books

January 30, 2023
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -The highly anticipated 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona is in the books and it’s fair to say the race exceeded expectations.
There was a record crowd on hand to witness the largely flawless debut for the ultra-complex Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) hybrids, a photo finish in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) and the typically fierce, deep and unpredictable competition among a bevy of marques in the two Grand Touring (GT) classes – the competitors in the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship delivered quite a show.
With 45 finishers from 61 starters and five class winners, there are a plethora of stories (and potential takeaways). Without diminishing James Allen’s breathtaking pass of Ben Hanley at the checkered flag to grab the LMP2 laurels (not to mention Proton Competition’s outstanding effort repairing the victorious No. 55 ORECA after a practice mishap) or AWA’s dominant LMP3 win, allow me to offer this trio of takeaways.
Tip of the Hat

A tip of the hat to Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, their teams and drivers for an unexpectedly smooth debut of the GTP class. After roughly 18 months to build out their hybrid prototypes, eight of the nine GTPs were running at the end of 24 hours, headed by the top two Acura ARX-06s and two Cadillac V-LMDhs in P3 and P4, all on the lead lap. Sure, the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 finished 100+ laps down after issues with the spec hybrid powertrain and the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 did not finish after suffering a broken gearbox.
But an 89 percent finishing rate would be an outstanding record for any class in any 24-hour race, let alone one featuring such complex vehicles in their competition debut. With seven weeks before they race again, the teams and manufacturers will have plenty of learnings from the Rolex 24 to use in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Of course, a dozen hours of racing on the rough ’n tumble runways, taxiways and macadam of Sebring International Raceway is every bit, if not more, demanding than 24 hours at Daytona International Speedway. But if the remarkable debut of the GTPs is any indication, Round 2 of the 2023 WeatherTech Championship should be every bit as compelling as the first.
Passing the Torch?

As television viewers were regularly reminded, the days when Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian could be considered a “little team” are long gone. The No. 60 MSR Acura led the race early, often and late; in other words, just about any time they darn well pleased.
For those keeping score, this makes back-to-back Rolex 24 wins for the Ohio-based team and its third overall, which dovetails with its 2022 Daytona Prototype international class championship and the 2019 and 2020 GT Daytona (GTD) crowns . . . not to mention the 2021 Indianapolis 500.
So, while preseason talk focused on the coming epic showdown between the teams of the reigning titans of American motorsports – Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske – it was the one owned by Mike Shank and partner Jim Meyer that took home the honors . . . and gave at least one observer pause to ponder this: Roger Penske was born in 1937 and dominated American racing in his 40s, 50s and 60s. Chip Ganassi was born in 1958 and rose to challenge Penske and, yes, dominate American racing in his 40s, 50s and 60s. Born in 1966, Shank is mounting an increasingly formidable challenge to the Penske/Ganassi domination of sports cars and Indy cars. Is he poised to become the next team owner to dominate American racing?
GTD’s Big Picture

Kudos to Mercedes/WeatherTech Racing and Aston Martin/Heart of Racing Team on their wins in GTD PRO and GTD respectively. But in terms of the big picture, Corvette Racing is the manufacturer that announced its intentions to be a force in GT racing this season and in years to come last week.
After a comparatively disappointing GTD PRO campaign last year, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R GTD gave the GTD PRO competition all they could handle in the Rolex 24 before settling for what, under the circumstances, was a disappointing runner-up finish.
That’s encouraging evidence that Corvette Racing put the lessons learned last year campaigning a C8.R born and bred for the discontinued GTLM class to good use and will be a force to be reckoned with in their sophomore season of GTD PRO. What’s more, the unveiling of Corvette’s Z06 GT3.R is ample evidence of GM’s commitment to GT racing – and a tantalizing glimpse into the future, not only for Corvette Racing in GTD PRO, but for what one must imagine will be a host of GTD teams looking to campaign the new ‘Vette in seasons to come.

IMSA Wire: Blomqvist Puts No. 60 Acura in Record Book as First GTP Hybrid Era Pole Winner

Blomqvist Puts No. 60 Acura in Record Book as First GTP Hybrid Era Pole Winner
A Sizzling Last Lap Takes the Meyer Shank Racing Entry to the Top

January 22, 2023
By Holly Cain and Godwin Kelly
IMSA Wire Service

Rolex 24 At Daytona Qualifying Results

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The first “official” marks of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s 2023 season were set Sunday in Motul Pole Award qualifying to establish the lineup for the Rolex 24 At Daytona season opener. Most attention was focused on the hybrid-powered prototypes making up the reborn Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class, and the qualifying session lived up to the hype.
In a dramatic final moments, Tom Blomqvist turned the best lap of the entire three days of Roar Before the Rolex 24 on-track activity, putting the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 on pole position. Blomqvist will lead the 61-car field to the green flag on Jan. 28, following an impressive lap of 1 minute, 34.031 seconds (136.295 mph).
Blomqvist’s fast time – set on the very last lap of the qualifying session – bettered Felipe Nasr in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 by a slight 0.083 seconds. The top eight GTP cars were separated by only 0.815 seconds.
“That was one of the most difficult sessions I’ve done because my tires weren’t exactly fully, fully ready and I didn’t have much of a good reference to go off of, so I was glad to win that one,’’ Blomqvist said of his fourth career Motul Pole Award and first for the Rolex 24.
Ricky Taylor qualified third in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport (1:34.198, 136.054 mph) and will start alongside the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-LMDh on the second row. Sebastien Bourdais turned a best lap of 1:34.262 (135.961 mph) in the No. 01, one of two GTP cars entered by Chip Ganassi Racing.
Meyer Shank Racing paced the first four practice sessions of the weekend leading up to qualifying. But the pole appeared in jeopardy when Nick Tandy went off course in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport, bringing out a red-flag stoppage with Blomqvist sitting in seventh place. Once the track was cleared, it left time for a single flying lap for each car when the green flag returned.
“Thankfully that was just enough time for one lap,” Blomqvist said. “I don’t really know how I did it, but my lap was made easier because the car has been quick all weekend and I know what I had underneath me.”
Blomqvist, who pitted to change Michelin tires early in the session, conceded he was worried about getting a crack at the pole position during the red-flag stoppage.
“I was actually a bit bummed because I thought it was kind of done for us, and then they said, ‘You’ve got one lap,’” Blomqvist of the team radio chatter. “I didn’t know what to expect, so I just kind of went for it on the out lap and had to get past one car and make a legitimate move on the out lap.
“I was lucky I had such a smooth running in terms of the car being so good and really didn’t have to do too many changes to the set-up. I knew what I had but today the track conditions were very different with the wind and the heat, so I just had to virtually send it and rely on my instincts.
“Thankfully, I managed to survive that,’’ he added smiling. “That was a fun day.’’

Keating Earns Fourth Daytona Pole With LMP2 Flyer
Veteran driver Ben Keating took Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) pole honors in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 with a lap of 1:40.541 (127.470 mph). While the conditions seemed ideal for fast laps – sunny skies, mild temperatures – Keating said the windy surroundings made it a bit treacherous.
Two LMP2s spun with the help of breezy conditions and a “green track” after Saturday’s rain showers washed the rubber off the track surface.
“I felt like this was one of the more tricky qualifying sessions,” said Keating, who earned his fourth Rolex 24 pole and 12th of his IMSA career. He’ll share the No. 52 in the race with Paul-Loup Chatin, Alex Quinn and Nicolas Lapierre.
“You set your car up so you’re on the edge in the Bus Stop (the Le Mans Chicane on the oval backstretch),” Keating explained. “All weekend, we had a slight headwind going into the Bus Stop. Today, we had about a 19-mph tailwind, and that made a huge difference in our car.”
John Farano, wheeling the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA, spun and made heavy contact into a tire wall in Turn 7. Fred Poordad also went off course in Turn 6 in the No. 55 Proton Competition ORECA.
“I expected it to be tricky, but it’s never quite real until you get out there and start doing it,” Keating said. “I had quite a few ‘moments’ in the car at the Bus Stop and I was not surprised to see a car go off there.”

Francois Heriau in the No. 35 TDS Racing ORECA was a tick behind Keating, posting a time of 1:41.751 (125.594 mph). Steven Thomas was third in the No. 11 TDS Racing entry at 1:41.813 (125.878 mph) and inadvertently helped Keating.

“I got a nice tow off of Thomas and that made about half a second worth of difference,” Keating said.

Pino Procures First IMSA Pole in LMP3
Eighteen-year-old Nico Pino scored his first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole with a blistering lap of 1:43.197 (124.189 mph) in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320. Pino leapfrogged past Dakota Dickerson (No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier) on the speed chart late in the qualifying session. Dickerson wound up second fastest with a lap of 1:43.307 (124.057 mph).
It was a big day for Pino and car owner Sean Creech, who has a race shop in Jupiter, Florida. It was Creech’s first Daytona pole as a car owner.
“This is a special one,” Pino said. “This was my first pole (ever). We have a long race coming ahead – 24 hours. This was a 15-minute qualifying session.”
Pino will share the No. 33 with Lance Willsey, Danny Soufi and four-time Rolex 24 winner Joao Barbosa.
“We have done a lot of work fine-tuning the car,” Pino said. “We had our ups and downs through the practice sessions, but now we have a good baseline to start working with the team for the race. I’m looking forward to it.”
Rolex 24 At Daytona practice starts Thursday. The 24-hour race begins Saturday with the start airing live on NBC at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday and the conclusion beginning at noon Sunday, Jan. 29. Flag-to-flag coverage is available on Peacock.

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IMSA Wire: Castroneves, Acura Lead GTP Field at Roar’s Opening Day

Castroneves, Acura Lead GTP Field at Roar’s Opening Day
2023 WeatherTech Championship Season Kicks off under Sunny Florida Skies

January 20, 2023
By John Oreovicz and Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service

Roar Before the Rolex 24 Test Session 1 Results
Roar Before the Rolex 24 Test Session 2 Results
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship edged one step closer to the starting line with the first official practice sessions of the new season at Daytona International Speedway.
For months, sports car fans around the world have been anticipating the debut of the exotic, hybrid-powered prototypes in the new GTP class at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, and Daytona Beach delivered picture-perfect 75-degree conditions on Friday. The new cars shone as bright as the Florida sun on what constituted the ‘23 season’s opening day.
Over the course of the three-day Roar weekend, competitors in all five classes of the WeatherTech Championship will utilize 7.5 hours of track time from five test sessions in preparation for the 61st running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, set for Jan. 28-29. A Sunday afternoon qualifying session will seed the 61-car grid. The Roar also kicks off the 2023 season for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, which has five test sessions of its own, and the new IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, which conducts its first two races of the season.
Thanks to the new GTP cars, the new year has been built up not only as the start of a new championship campaign, but the beginning of a whole new era. Friday at Daytona definitely resonated with a “Let’s get it started!” vibe.
Chip Ganassi, whose organization partners with Cadillac Racing to field Cadillac V-LMDh prototypes in the WeatherTech Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship, paid tribute to the complex technology of the new prototypes, and the countless development hours that went into getting them ready for this moment.
“Here we are now in a race situation,” Ganassi said.
“It’s what we all look forward to and what we are excited about, and it’s all coming to a head this weekend.”
With three minutes remaining in Friday’s final WeatherTech Championship practice, Helio Castroneves set the fastest lap of the day. The four-time Indy 500 winner, 2020 WeatherTech Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class champion and two-time Rolex 24 overall winner turned a lap of 1 minute, 35.210 seconds (134.607 mph) in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06. He was a mere 0.110 seconds faster than Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 from Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport.
“It feels great – I’ll take it,” Castroneves said. “Any good day in the office is always a good day. It’s great to have everyone synching. Everyone did a good job and let’s keep it going.”
Castroneves, who drives full-time for Meyer Shank’s IndyCar Series team and shares in the workload at the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events, has participated in the development of the Acura ARX-06. But he admitted that until Friday, he was yet to feel comfortable in the new machinery.
“To be honest, it was the first time I felt good in the car,” said Castroneves. “Acura did a lot of work behind the scenes that people don’t understand. When I was here testing the last time, there was no way I was happy. There were question marks, big time. But the end of the day, everyone did a great job and now let’s just keep it going.”
Mikkel Jensen set the final practice pace in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) with a fast lap of 1:38.730 in the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA LMP2 07, while Gabby Chaves was fastest in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) at 1:42.926 in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320.
Five-time Rolex 24 winner Andy Lally set the fast lap among GT competitors with a lap of 1:47.004 in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3, set in the first of Friday’s two sessions. Fastest in GTD PRO was Ben Barnicoat’s lap of 1:47.040 in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, set in the second session.
Mars Paces Michelin Pilot Challenge Testing
Teen phenom Luca Mars topped the speed chart following two IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge test sessions. The co-driver of the No. 59 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 turned a lap of 1:53.042 (113.373 mph) in the first practice.
NASCAR standout Zane Smith recorded the fastest lap in Friday’s final action (1:53.159, 113.256 mph). Smith is teaming with fellow NASCAR driver Harrison Burton in the No. 42 PF Racing Mustang, along with James Pesek.
Burton, who drives the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series, and Smith, driver of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford F150 and the 2022 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, are among five fulltime NASCAR drivers competing in IMSA series over the next week. NASCAR trucks regulars Hailie Deegan and 2021 series champion Ben Rhodes are co-driving the No. 41 PF Racing Mustang in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, while defending Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric will compete in the Rolex 24 in the No. 51 ORECA LMP2 for Rick Ware Racing, which fields cars in NASCAR, IMSA and the NHRA.
Goldburg Tops First VP Racing SportsCar Challenge Sessions
Dan Goldburg was the driver to beat in the first official day of competition for the new VP Racing Challenge that features a 45-minute doubleheader sprint race format with LMP3 prototypes and GT4-specification cars. Goldburg (No. 73 JDC MotorSports Duqueine D08) enjoyed a 0.790-second advantage in LMP3 over Bijoy Garg (No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320). Tim Probert (No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4) topped the GSX class in both sessions, with his 1:54.660 lap in the morning setting the benchmark.
Saturday’s slate of Roar activities includes practice sessions for the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge, along with qualifying and the opening race for the VP Racing Challenge (2:05 p.m. ET, livestream on Peacock).

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IMSA Wire – DPi 2022 Season Review: Meyer Shank Prevails in Last Hurrah for Class

DPi 2022 Season Review: Meyer Shank Prevails in Last Hurrah for Class
Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis Bring Home the Title for the No. 60 Acura in the Final Year for DPi Competition

October 12, 2022
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. –The season began with a rousing win. It ended with a championship.
The final season of the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class became a showdown between two Acura teams – Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing. The two battled door-to-door through 10 races, eventually reaching the final round separated by just 19 points.
It ended as it started – with Meyer Shank Racing celebrating.
When Tom Blomqvist crossed the finish line first Oct. 1 in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, it marked a third DPi championship for Acura, which won six of the 10 DPi races on the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule.
For Blomqvist, who joined Oliver Jarvis as the full-time drivers of the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 in January, the Rolex 24 At Daytona was a loud introduction.
“I was speechless after the race,” Blomqvist said after teaming with Jarvis, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud to win the Rolex 24. “I mean, I dreamed of it. Did I believe? Yes, but you never know. It’s 24 hours of relentless racing. And every time I jumped in the car, at moments I felt really comfortable. At moments I was, like, ‘Man, I can’t get this car to work.’”
Spoiler alert: He got the car to work.
Over the next nine races, Blomqvist and Jarvis turned consistency into a championship trophy, winning only one more race but piling up five consecutive second-place finishes and the Petit victory to claim team, driver and manufacturer championships. It wasn’t easy, no matter how it added up.
Jarvis, the DPi veteran who has seen his share of DPi duels, empathized with WTR co-drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor as Petit Le Mans ended with MSR winning the race and the championship over the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05.
“I’ve been on the receiving end where I led a few years back and had an issue and failed to be leading, so I know how it feels,” Jarvis said. “They had a fantastic year, so full credit to them, but for Meyer Shank to come away with a championship is something really special.”
The intense competition in the DPi class this season – the last before Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) becomes the top prototype class in 2023 – was exemplified by the fact that the points lead changed after every race. The two Acuras exchanged it exclusively through the final seven events.
After the opening 1-2 finish at Daytona, the two Acura teams stumbled in the next round. Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Neel Jani combined to win the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in the No. 02 Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R as the No. 10 Acura finished fourth and the No. 60 MSR Acura finished fifth.
Cadillac would remain in the points chase to the end, albeit peripherally as the season wound down. The No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac and co-drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande won three races and finished third in the final standings.
After the disappointment of Sebring, three wins in four midseason races put Wayne Taylor Racing back in front. The third of those victories – a wild run to the finish by Albuquerque in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June – flipped the points in the No. 10 team’s favor. More importantly, it continued Acura’s gains on Cadillac.
“It’s very tight,” Taylor said after the victory at Watkins Glen International. “The nice thing that we’re going to take out of it is that we continue to build a gap to Cadillac. At the end of the day, we really want to bring a championship for Acura.”

The key to MSR’s championship may have been as simple as scouting. Blomqvist had experience in prototypes, including a Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) win in the 2018 24 Hours of Spa, but the 2022 season marked his first foray into the WeatherTech Championship’s top class.
Team co-owner Jim Meyer explained Blomqvist’s “discovery” at the Rolex 24 postrace press conference.
“Tom doesn’t know this,” Meyer said as Blomqvist listened. “But the first time he tested for us, Mike called me and said, ‘We’ve got our guy. We’ve got our guy.’”
Just as Blomqvist had shown in the season-opening victory, the team was ready for anything the season had to offer.
“Every stint here is just flat out,” Blomqvist said after the Rolex 24. “You’re managing so many things. You feel like you’re racing nose to tail from literally the green light. So, it’s very different from what I’m used to, and honestly, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Nine races later, with a trophy in hand, he wasn’t alone.

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Blomqvist’s Hunch Comes True in DPi Title Run for No. 60 Acura

Blomqvist’s Hunch Comes True in DPi Title Run for No. 60 Acura
The Meyer Shank Racing Co-Driver Woke up with a ‘Feeling’ His Team Would Win the Motul Petit Le Mans

October 5, 2022
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service

BRASELTON, Ga. – Tom Blomqvist woke up Saturday with a feeling he couldn’t shake, a premonition about how the rest of his day would play out.
“I just had this sort of feeling that we were going to win the thing,” he said. “I don’t really know why.”
Good instincts. Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves combined to win the 25th annual Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to claim the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale.
Not a bad outcome for a team that didn’t rejoin the WeatherTech Championship’s top class until last year, and at times in 2021 struggled to sort out its Acura ARX-05 and make it perform more consistently.
This year, consistency was the hallmark of Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian. Its No. 60 car finished outside the podium just three times in 10 races. During one stretch, Blomqvist and Jarvis finished second five consecutive times. Frustrating, no doubt, but those five runner-up finishes set the foundation for a championship.
Fitting, then, that MSR’s performance in the 10-hour season finale was a masterful yet consistent work of art.
“We were faultless, flawless,” Blomqvist said. “The guys in the pits and the engineers with the strategy – all year long we’ve been pretty consistent. It’s just fantastic.”
They weren’t the only ones who impressed. So did the other team battling for the championship. The all-Acura duel between MSR and Wayne Taylor Racing came down to the final minutes and a close battle between the No. 60 and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 driven by Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley.
The drama reached its zenith when Albuquerque tried to pass Blomqvist heading into Turn 1 with 14 minutes remaining. As the chase moved up the hill into Turn 2, the No. 10 made contact with a lapped GT car. Resulting rear suspension damage ended the pursuit.
“I’m simply devastated with the ending,” Albuquerque said. … “It was a bit inglorious to finish like that. So competitive and tight fun today, but it is what it is.”
Albuquerque also apologized publicly on Twitter, where his teammate praised him in response. “You drive like a hero,” Taylor tweeted.
Taylor wasn’t the only one commending the effort by the No. 10 group. Jarvis took a moment during the postrace press conference to acknowledge WTR’s effort before praising the decisions of his own crew, including strategist Ryan McCarthy and performance director Vincent Forges.
“These are stressful situations,” Jarvis said. “You’ve got myself and Tom and Helio and about 20 other people having an opinion. They managed to take that all in and really soak it up and stay extremely calm when some of us weren’t.”
The MSR group wasn’t alone in celebrating into the early hours Sunday. Four other championships were decided at Petit, some of them by narrow margins:
Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2): Tower Motorsport won its third consecutive Petit Le Mans as its No. 8 ORECA LMP2 07 co-driven by John Farano, Louis Deletraz and Rui Pinto de Andrade won the team championship while Farano clinched the driver’s title.
Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3): The No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier JS P320 co-driven by Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and George Kurtz recovered from a spin to finish fifth and claim the driver championship for Braun and Bennett and team championship for CORE.
Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO): Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell clinched the driver and team championships for the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with the start of Saturday’s race, where it finished the race third in class with Jaminet, Campbell and Felipe Nasr co-driving.
Grand Touring Daytona (GTD): Roman De Angelis finished seventh in class in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to clinch the driver and team championships by just 21 points over the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R and co-drivers Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen.
And, after a full season of back-and-forth between the two Acura-powered DPi teams, the win-or-lose part of it came down to the final minutes of a 10-hour race that at times was tense for all.
“Just watching Tom’s on-board (camera) at the end, I think my heart rate was probably as high as his in the car,” Jarvis said. “To win this race in the manner he did, you have to take chances. You have to take risks.
“If people at home could watch as much of the on-board as we do, you’d realize what it takes to be quick around here and win the race. It’s a calculated risk, but you also put a lot of faith in your competitor. It’s an amazing place. Everybody wants to win Petit Le Mans.”

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IMSA Wire: Record Lap from Blomqvist Sends No. 60 Acura to Watkins Glen Pole

Record Lap from Blomqvist Sends No. 60 Acura to Watkins Glen Pole
Keating Keeps Cruising in LMP2; Varrone Takes LMP3 Pole in IMSA Debut

June 25, 2022
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service

Provisional Qualifying Results

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Tom Blomqvist picked the right time for his first Motul Pole Award in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Blomqvist turned a lap of 1 minute, 29.580 seconds (136.637 mph) Saturday – a track record for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class – to claim pole position for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. He’ll lead the field around the 11-turn, 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International circuit when the green flag waves Sunday morning.

“We put a big focus on qualifying this weekend,” said Blomqvist, who will co-drive the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 with Oliver Jarvis. “The championship is tight and every point counts.”

The pole let Blomqvist and Jarvis expand their lead in the WeatherTech Championship driver standings to 13 points over Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, who qualified second in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 at 1:29.744.

“It’s a six-hour race, so a lot can happen,” Blomqvist said. “But it definitely makes your life a lot easier to start at the front. That was definitely a focus of ours this weekend.”

From Le Mans to Watkins Glen, Keating is quick

Fresh from his win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ben Keating kept the momentum going Saturday by winning the top starting spot in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class.

Keating, who won the GTE Am class at Le Mans on June 12, was clocked at 1:33.930 (130.309 mph) Saturday in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 he shares with Mikkel Jensen and Scott Huffaker.

Keating won the Motul Pole Award by just 0.001 seconds over the team’s No. 11 ORECA driven by Steven Thomas. Keating’s lap was more than a second faster than his qualifying lap at Watkins Glen in 2021.

“That’s far and away the fastest lap I’ve ever done around Watkins Glen,” Keating said. “It’s a track that feels so good to do a really quick lap. … It’s just hard to imagine.”

First visit to The Glen? No problem for Varrone in LMP3

Nico Varrone made good use of his first visit to Watkins Glen.

Before Thursday, the Argentinian hadn’t seen WGI or worked with FastMD Racing. Two days later, he claimed the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) pole with a lap of 1:40.028 (122.365 mph) in the No. 40 Duqueine D08 he co-drives with Max Hanratty and James Vance.

“It was amazing,” Varrone said. “I’m really happy. I’m really happy to be racing in America. It’s my first time and I’m enjoying it a lot. Everyone is amazing, the fans are amazing. It’s really cool. It’s not finished, the job. We have a long race tomorrow.”

The race – the seventh on the 2022 WeatherTech Championship schedule and third round of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup – begins at 10:40 a.m. ET Sunday, with flag-to-flag coverage live on Peacock. USA Network joins on TV at 2 p.m. It also will be carried live on IMSA Radio (including XM Radio 207 and SiriusXM Web/App 992) as well as the international stream on

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IMSA Wire: Acura Holds True to Early Form at Mid-Ohio Practice

Acura Holds True to Early Form at Mid-Ohio Practice
BMW Edges Lexus for Honors in GTD

May 13, 2022
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Recent history suggests there are two manufacturer favorites heading into the Lexus Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio, the fifth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Acura is undefeated at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) era dating to 2018, with Ricky Taylor – who currently shares the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 DPi with Filipe Albuquerque – taking the overall race win in three of the last four years.

In the GT Daytona (GTD) class for production-based cars built to international GT3 regulations, Lexus has enjoyed similar success. Lexus won its first WeatherTech Championship race at Mid-Ohio in 2018, and the RC F GT3 triumphed again in 2019 and ’20 before the streak ended with a second-place finish in 2021.

Acura backed up those statistics at Mid-Ohio on Friday in a 90-minute practice session ahead of Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race. Albuquerque turned the fastest lap of the day, timed at 1 minute, 11.828 seconds (113.170 mph), narrowly edging the No. 60 Meyer-Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura driven by Tom Blomqvist (1:11.904/113.050 mph).

Taylor and Albuquerque are coming off a victory in the last WeatherTech Championship event two weeks ago at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where Albuquerque anchored the win in a tense duel to the finish with Blomqvist.

The two Acura teams enter the Mid-Ohio weekend deadlocked at the top of the DPi point standings. Taylor acknowledged that the Acuras need to capitalize on weekends like this against their competitors from Cadillac.

“For the Acura, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and Road America are the places we really need to do our job to get the most points possible,” Taylor said.

“This is kind of a replay of the game plan from Laguna. We need to go win the race and get the most points again because once we get to Detroit, we expect it to swing back the other way.”

Jarvis, Blomqvist’s co-driver in the No. 60 MSR Acura, shares the same mindset.

“It’s important that we capitalize at tracks that do suit the Acura and come away with maximum points,” Jarvis said. “This is (team co-owner) Mike Shank’s home race, and amazingly, the team has never won here. We want to put that right, Tom and myself.”

Earl Bamber was quickest among the four Cadillacs on Friday, with a lap of 1:12.330 (112.384 mph) in the No. 02 Cadillac Accessories entry operated by Chip Ganassi Racing.

In GTD, two-time Mid-Ohio winner Jack Hawksworth set the pace in the No. 17 Vasser Sullivan Lexus until a late lap by Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3 stole class honors. Foley’s effort was clocked at 1:21.220 (100.083 mph).

Bryan Sellers was third fastest in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, with Aaron Telitz – who won with Hawksworth at Mid-Ohio in 2020 – fourth in the No. 12 Lexus.

In the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class, Ryan Dalziel took over at the top of the timing chart with just six minutes remaining in the practice. His lap of 1:13.478 (110.628 mph) in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07 was 0.407 seconds better than Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 11 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport ORECA.

In Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3), Colin Braun set the benchmark with a 1:17.603 (104.748 mph) effort in the CORE Autosport Ligier JS P320.

A second practice starts at 9 a.m. ET Saturday on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Motul Pole Award qualifying streams live on at 1:15 p.m. Saturday.

The race airs live on USA Network beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Koch Collects Second Straight Michelin Pilot Challenge Pole

Unofficial Qualifying Results

Kenton Koch put the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 on the overall and Grand Sport (GS) pole position for the second consecutive IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race with his effort Friday at Mid-Ohio.

Koch’s best lap of 1:27.126 backed up the pole position he claimed two weeks ago at WeatherTech Raceway. It elevated his career poles total to three in the series. The GS qualifying session was tight throughout, with the top four qualifiers within 0.063 seconds of each other. Alexandre Premat was second in the No 28 RS1 Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport at 1:27.182.

Tiago Monteiro, the former Formula One and IndyCar driver making his series debut, put the No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic FK7 TCR on pole in the Touring Car (TCR) class with a lap of 1:28.829. It was 0.342 seconds better than 2020 TCR champion Gabby Chaves in the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

Saturday’s Mid-Ohio 120 starts at 4:05 p.m. and streams live on Peacock.

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Media Release: Michelin 2022 Rolex 24

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Michelin Kicks off 2022 IMSA Season With Record Success at Rolex 24

  • Multiple lap records in spite of extreme cold track temperatures
  • Michelin averages 5,517 race miles per hour for 24 Hours
  • MSR Acura, Pfaff Porsche, Wright Porsche take Rolex Class wins
  • Dragon Speed USA, Riley Motorsports Claim LMP Honors
Daytona Beach, FL—Jan. 30, 2021 – Michelin delivered an impressive performance of speed and endurance, with an added ability to set multiple lap records in extremely cold race temperatures in the 60th anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The opening race of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Championship drew a powerful array of 61 entries and a star-studded line-up of 230 drivers representing 26 countries.

“Seeing the track record broken repeatedly in cold overnight conditions is a tribute to our Michelin engineers, who work hard to deliver versatile tires with a wide range of performance,” said Tony Ménard, director of motorsport, Michelin North America.

With more than 13 hours of the 24-hour race taking place after Saturday’s sunset, Michelin engineers reported overnight temperatures of 31(F) degrees with track temperatures of 33 degrees.

Despite 16 caution periods, the Michelin field completed 37,197 laps, a total of 132,421 miles, or 5,517.55 miles per hour.

Acura Meyer Shank Racing takes overall victory

After being the only DPi class entrant not to win a race in 2021 — the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura DPi turned the page and won the Rolex 24 with drivers Helio Castroneves, Oliver Jarvis, Simon Pagenaud and Tom Blomqvist. Castroneves led the team to the checkered flag, holding off Ricky Taylor with Acura Wayne Taylor Racing. Finishing third was the Cadillac of JDC Miller Motorsports.

IndyCar rivals team up to win LMP2 class, Riley Motorsports defends LMP3 victory

DragonSpeed USA called on the talents of two IndyCar stars, Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta, to win Rolex watches. The move paid off with the No. 81 car finishing first with teammates Eric Lux and Devlin Defrancesco. Racing Team Nederland took runner-up and Tower Motorsport finished third.

Riley Motorsports won the LMP3 class for the second time in a row. The team made up of Gar Robinson, Felipe Fraga, Kay Van Berlo and Michael Cooper brought the No. 74 to victory lane. Sean Creech Motorsport placed second and Core Autosport took third.

Porsche Pfaff Motorsport takes GTDPRO debut, Porsche Wright Motorsports triumphs in GTD

The No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3R won the first race of the GTDPRO class in IMSA with a thrilling finish. Mathieu Jaminet and Laurens Vanthoor of Porsche KCMG went toe-to-toe during the final laps. Jaminet joined teammates Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr in victory lane. Ferrari Risi Competizione crossed the finish line in second while KCMG took the last spot on the podium.

Porsche Wright Motorsports took home Rolex watches with Ryan Hardwick, Zacharie Robichon, Jan Heylen and Richard Lietz. The No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3R beat the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Finishing third was the No. 32 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports.

Porsche RS1 and Alfa Romeo KMW Motorsports open Michelin Pilot Challenge season with wins

The BMW M Endurance Challenge saw a large 48-car field at Daytona. The race in GS was won by RS1 in a Porsche 718 GT4 RS CS driven by Eric Filgueiras and Stevan McAleer. This was Filgueiras’ first IMSA race ever. McAleer praised Michelin after the race saying, “How we won this race today, comfortably, is that the car didn’t fall off. I am blown away that the Michelin tire could go that long on this car; same brake and turn-in points over the stint.”

The TCR class was conquered by Roy Block and Tim Lewis in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce for KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering. Both these teams took home the IMSA Radio Michelin Moment of the Race as well.

Robert Wickens makes triumphant return to racing with podium finish
The racing world celebrated the Canadian’s return to full-time racing in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. This was Robert Wicken’s first race back since being paralyzed in a crash nearly four years ago. He and teammate Mark Wilkins finished third in the Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N. Michelin spoke to Wickens about his return. Watch here.
Michelin Post-Race Notes

  • Imagine adding up the number of drivers from the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, and the Grand Prix of Monaco. The total would still be less than half the number of drivers competing in the Rolex 24 Hours. Watch the Michelin Tire Tech minute to learn what that means for logistical support.
  • The ‘Démonstrateur 46’ tire was at the Rolex 24 showcasing Michelin’s commitment to sustainability. Learn more about this race tire that contains 46% sustainable materials by watching here
  • Four new qualifying and race records were set over the Roar and Rolex 24 weekends. Rene Rast set a new mark in LMP2 qualifying for G-Drive Racing By APR with a 1:35.789 lap. Alex Palou with Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing set a race record in DPi with a 1:33.724 lap. The LMP2 race record was broken by Paul-Loup Chatin No.18 Era Motorsport with a 1:35.532 lap. Felipe Fraga set a new race record in LMP3 with a 1:42.133 lap for Riley Motorsports.

Next Up

The 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship now heads to Florida for the 70thAnnual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 19th. The race can be seen in its entirety on Peacock and on USA from 3:30pm-10:30pm.

Additional Hi-Res Images

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the flagship series of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). Michelin is the Official Tire of IMSA.

Within the WeatherTech Championship, there are five classes: DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM and GTD.

The Michelin Endurance Cup comprises the four longest races of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship year and features four races with distinct histories in sports car racing.

Races in Daytona (24 hours), Sebring (12), Watkins Glen (6) and Michelin Raceway (10) and make up 52 hours of racing. Points are awarded at different intervals in each race, and champions are crowned at Petit Le Mans.

Michelin serves as both the Official Tire and title sponsor of the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge. The naming convention for this series refers to the MICHELIN® Pilot® line of tires.

This series features two classes of production-based cars: GS, which features GT4-specification cars, and TCR, which features TCR specification cars.

The new Porsche Carrera Cup North America series is IMSA sanctioned and has been 30 years in the making.

This one-make series competes in the United States and Canada. It utilizes a combination of the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, type 992, and MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup N3 racing slick to challenge the best road and street race courses on the continent.

The IMSA Prototype Challenge is one of IMSA’s two Challenge series, which serve as a ladder and support series to the WeatherTech Championship.

Michelin is the Official Tire of the Prototype Challenge series, which features entry-level prototype racing on IMSA race weekends with LMP3 cars.

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Further information:

About Michelin North America

Michelin, the leading mobility company, is dedicated to enhancing its customers’ mobility, and sustainably; designing and distributing the most innovative tires, services and solutions for its customers’ needs; providing digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences; and developing high-technology materials that serve a variety of industries. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, Michelin North America has approximately 23,000 employees and operates 34 production facilities in the United States and Canada. (