Blomqvist reveals key to MSR Acura’s Petit Le Mans win

Tom Blomqvist says that fuel saving in the penultimate stint of Petit Le Mans is what enabled the Meyer Shank Racing team clinch race victory and IMSA’s 2022 Prototype championship at Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist reveals key to MSR Acura’s Petit Le Mans win
Listen to this article

When the two Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs clashed and crashed at Turn 1 with 52mins to go, bringing out the full-course caution, the race came down to a straight duel between the two championship-contending Acura ARX-05s of Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing. From around one-third distance, the WTR car of Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley had appeared to have an edge in pace over the Blomqvist/Oliver Jarvis/Helio Castroneves-piloted MSR car. Until the caution bunched the field together, Albuquerque seemed able to keep his lead over Blomqvist to between 13 and 17 seconds.

However, Blomqvist had been saving fuel, ensuring the #60 car’s final pitstop under caution was shorter than that of the #10 car, so that he retook the lead he’d first earned at the start of the 10 hour race having taken his third pole position of the year.

From that final restart, Blomqvist got his advantage out to four seconds, then saw it reduce to a couple of tenths while lapping GT traffic. However, in trying to keep up with Blomqvist through these backmarkers, Albuquerque struck the Winward Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 and damaged its rear suspension, forcing the Acura to creep to the pits.

Later, the Mercedes too went off at Turn 1, bringing out the final caution under which Blomqvist was able to coast to the finish line ahead of the two Action Express Racing Cadillacs.

“I’ve never dug so deep in my life,” said Blomqvist. “I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend…

“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 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 feeling in a car in a long, long time, when there is something to chase and you really feel on top of the car. 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…

“I had a big fuel number to hit. We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time, and obviously we had less fuel to fill up. I was able to jump him, and then it was just going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line.”

“What a race!” said his full-season partner Jarvis. “It looked like we were out of it with about 1hr20min2 to go. 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. They had a fantastic year, so full credit to them, but for Meyer Shank to come away with a championship is something really special.”

Said team co-owner Michael Shank: “I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of this entire team… 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."

Castroneves, who also won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona with the team and races full-time for the MSR IndyCar team, said: "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.”

shares
comments
Deletraz joins Wayne Taylor Racing for 2023 IMSA enduros
Previous article

Deletraz joins Wayne Taylor Racing for 2023 IMSA enduros

Next article

Lexus PLM winners celebrate, teammates rue DNF that “stinks”

Lexus PLM winners celebrate, teammates rue DNF that “stinks”
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Prime

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Prime

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with teammates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022