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MSR confirms Blomqvist for full-time IndyCar deal, Helio for Indy 500-only

Meyer Shank Racing has confirmed that its sportscar star Tom Blomqvist has signed a multi-year deal to race for its IndyCar team from next year.

Tom Blomqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

He will take the place of Helio Castroneves, who will instead take a minority ownership role with the team and solely contest the Indianapolis 500 in his quest for a record fifth victory.

Castroneves won the 2021 Indy 500 in MSR’s biggest achievement to date, and the team will add a third car at Indy next year.

Blomqvist, who won the 2022 IMSA SportsCar Championship and the 2022 and '23 Rolex 24 at Daytona with MSR, made his IndyCar debut in Toronto last month but crashed out on the opening lap.

“It’s been a good ride the last two years in IMSA, but I’ve been itching to make the step up to IndyCar and this is an opportunity I’m eager and motivated to make the most of,” said Blomqvist. “IndyCar is an incredibly competitive series and I’m under no illusions in how difficult this championship can be, but I am extremely motivated to make the most of this exciting new challenge.

“Jim and Mike have given me this big opportunity and it’s certainly a step up in career trajectory. It’s been a while since I drove in a single-seater series, this opportunity only arose since driving for Mike and his team, to prove him worthy of the shot in IndyCar.

“Extremely excited. Time will tell, but I’m pretty confident I’ll get there.”

Shank said of Blomqvist: “This is a guy who deserves to do this. I don’t know how many have come from sportscars upper ranks to give this a go. We’ve watched him do amazing things in our sportscar.

“I feel like all the planets aligned for us to be able to do this, so I’m really grateful for us to be making this next step as a team.

“Helio brings so much to what we do overall as a team, both in terms of our competition package and all of his experience, as well as how he’s able to engage with our partners.

“So having him transition to this role is really exciting for everyone involved.”

Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Castroneves’s new role with the team includes serving as driver mentor, team ambassador and partner of MSR’s roster of sponsors.

“This is a huge day,” he said. “For me, having the opportunity I couldn’t do it without the great group of people. We have a lot of work ahead of us, no question, but this is another chapter in my career.

“I want to be very clear, I am not retiring. I can do other series, SRX, IMSA, Stock Car Brazil, whatever. My main role in IndyCar is different hats and the drive for five, which is still alive.

“I still have a lot of energy to burn and I want to burn that in the Indy 500.

“The great thing is that Tom is going to have to call me ‘boss’. This is great! It’s all about Mike and the team going to the next level, so I’m really looking forward.”

MSR co-owner Jim Meyer explained how Castroneves ownership will work going forwards: “Obviously, Mike and I have the majority, plus Liberty Media and now Helio, who will also take on a role of driver coach and ambassador as well as his drive for five, so I think it’s a really exciting day.

“We’ve been talking to Tom for a long time about what his next step would be. And more recently we’ve had a couple of great conversations with Helio to get here.”

Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Shank also gave an update on Simon Pagenaud’s situation, who has missed all the races since his horrendous Mid-Ohio practice crash.

“I also want to let everyone know Simon is progressing really well,” he said. “We love him, when it’s time it’s time for him to come back.

“It’s his body's schedule. Thanks to our partners who’ve stood by us in a difficult year.”

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