Tom Blomqvist and the #60 Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) team took their second-consecutive victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona winning the iconic race from pole position and making history with the first GTP victory alongside teammates Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.
The 61st running of the American classic came down to four restarts during the final 94-minutes. Blomqvist was up to the task, holding off the competition each time en route to taking the checkered flag by 4.19-seconds in front of an event-record crowd.
Last year on Tom's debut with the team, MSR won the 60th Running of the Rolex 24 with an Acura in the DPi category before eventually being crowned 2022 IMSA Champions. This year, the top class showcased the new LMDh prototypes, with Tom's new teammate Colin Braun joining the driver lineup. Reigning IMSA Champion Blomqvist raced to his second straight Rolex 24-Hour victory in a truly magnificent performance.
Anticipated as a twice-around-the-clock learning curve for the new technology, the race quickly turned into a 24-hour sprint race. MSR was in the fight all the way, leading a race-high 361 of the 783 circuits.
Pole position winner Tom Blomqvist took the start for the MSR squad and led the opening 61 circuits, and quickly extended his lead early on with a strong starting stint in Daytona. Two hours later, Tom handed driving duties over to Braun and he maintained the lead, pacing 40 circuits during a lengthy two-and-a-half hour stint into dust.
After the team made quick work of a precautionary change of the rear wing, Braun was able to turn the car over to Simon Pagenaud from the lead. Pagenaud led twice for 13 laps as he explored what kind of grip was on offer as the race has featured extensive green flag running. Helio Castroneves then took over near the sixth hour, and ran in podium contention until a caution waved. Running second on the restart, Castroneves made a bid for the lead entering Turn 1 on cold tires. His move came up short as a rear end lock up sent him for a quick spin. While the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner avoided contact, the spin forced an extra stop in the pit lane for a fresh set of Michelin tires.
Castroneves then charged back through the field and gave the Acura back to Blomqvist running sixth with plenty of racing remaining.
Tom Blomqvist made a surging drive from a safety car restart to return Meyer Shank Racing to the lead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the tenth hour of racing. The No. 60 Acura ARX-06 dropped off the lead lap in Hour 7. Blomqvist took the restart in sixth position but quickly dispatched his GTP competitors into Turn 1 on successive laps to move back up the order.
Tom's sensational charge saw him retake the lead of the race from the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac on the run down to the Le Mans chicane.
After Pagenaud ran a triple-stint Sunday morning, the No. 60 Acura stayed out front for the remainder of the race before Tom returned to the cockpit with one-hour, 48-minutes to go. In a tense closing to the race, Tom had to manage several late-race restarts but was up to the task as he crossed the finishing line to win the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Tom completed a Daytona hattrick - securing pole position last week, the fastest lap of the race, and victory in the 24-hour race. Tom and the team depart Daytona with the IMSA championship lead as the series returns on March 15 - 18.
“It’s a team effort. What’s amazing here at this team is that everyone is able to achieve and reach their potential and that’s really important. What Mike (Shank) and Jim (Meyer) have done to create a good atmosphere within the team, it’s such an open book and I think that allows everyone to work to the best of their abilities. Especially for me, I’m confident because they put a lot of trust and faith in me and I am so grateful for that. Last year I was on the stand watching at the end and this year I felt a lot better about being in the car because I was in control of our own destiny. The feeling I had when I exited the Le Mans Chicane on the last lap and of course seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces is incredible.”
- Tom Blomqvist
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