Pausing IMSA program as team grows INDYCAR campaign
Pataskala, Ohio ( 3 October 2023) – Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) will pause the Ohio-based organization’s championship-winning IMSA campaign for the 2024 season to fully focus on the team’s growing NTT INDYCAR SERIES program.
MSR has competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship since 2004, becoming one of the most prolific and successful teams in the sport with more race starts than any other organization in the modern era.
The previous IMSA round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway marked MSR’s 350th start in North American sports car competition, having also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The team has grown from a race-winning privateer effort into a full-fledged factory operation, earning IMSA championships with Acura in 2019, 2020, and again in 2022. With two wins so far this year, Meyer Shank Racing heads to the season finale event with a mathematical chance at another IMSA title.
Meyer Shank Racing has continued to build it’s IMSA program, which is well recognized as being the best-of-the-best, with milestone victories in cornerstone events. The team captured overall victories in the 2012, 2022, and 2023 Rolex 24 At Daytona, two Petit Le Mans overall wins (2016 & 2022) as well as victories in the Six Hours of the Glen (2017 & 2019).
A key component to MSR’s success has been the talented group of seasoned team members that have focused on the IMSA program through the years, with several having been with the team since the inception of the sports car program. MSR Owners Mike Shank and Jim Meyer set a high priority on keeping that staff on-board, all of whom will continue to work with MSR and be prepared for the team’s IMSA return.
“Making the decision to take a year away from IMSA was not an easy one by any means,” said Shank. “Our guys live and breathe this team, and have committed most of their lives to working on these cars and traveling to races – and many of them have been with us for nearly 20 years. For Jim (Meyer) and I, our main focus was getting our guys set and making sure they were all going to be OK, which we were able to do.
“There are a lot of projects that we have going at the shop, and of course some of the guys will be helping with our growing INDYCAR program. The third Indianapolis 500 entry for Helio is a very big deal and I’m glad to have the right people in place to help us be as ready as possible for him to go get that fifth one. And then when we need to prepare for the IMSA program, we’ll still have this great group together and ready to go.
“I have so many people to thank who have had such an impact on me and how this team has grown – Jim France has been a supporter of us since we joined the series in 2004 and he’s someone that I cannot thank enough. Jon Ikeda, David Salters and everyone at Honda, HPD, and Acura, gave MSR a shot and trusted us to run this
program for the last few years and we have accomplished some pretty awesome things since running together.
“All of my crew and drivers who have been with us – and we have a pretty large list – I can’t thank them enough. Most of these guys have changed my life since I started this team in GRAND-AM. Like I said, we are not going anywhere, we’ll be gone for now, but definitely not forever. Taking next year to step back and focus on our INDYCAR program will be important for us as a team.”
MSR claimed it’s first-ever sports car win at the 2006 GRAND-AM Discount Tire Sunchaser 100k at Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC) with Ozz Negri and Mark Patterson. Two more GRAND-AM wins followed at New Jersey Motorsports Park. MSR won at UMC ahead of the team’s first major sports car win at the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Ozz Negri, AJ Allmendinger, John Pew and the late Justin Wilson combined to secure the overall victory in Daytona after leading 241 laps.
Twice, MSR has taken critical victories in the final iteration of an IMSA ruleset – the Motul Petit Le Mans. In 2016, the team won the final race ahead of the DPi era as long-time MSR driver John Pew closed his time with the team on a very high note as the team celebrated its 250th Prototype start with a victory.
2017 brought on a new challenge after MSR was selected by Honda to lead it’s factory effort with the all-new Acura NSX GT3. MSR quickly got to work and raced to the first-ever pole and victory for the NSX on the streets of Detroit just months after first taking delivery of the undeveloped Acura.
After a runner-up finish in the 2018 IMSA GTD championship, MSR claimed the IMSA title in 2019 giving Honda and the Acura NSX GT3 it’s first-ever championship victory in international competition. The team backed that up in 2020, sealing the IMSA title early through a difficult COVID-modified IMSA season.
Acura tabbed the team to return to Prototype competition in 2021, as Meyer Shank Racing remained with Honda to run the Acura ARX-05 DPi. The team opened the 2022 season with a popular victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, winning the 60th running of the event and 10 years after winning the 50th edition of the iconic North American race. The team added to its championship tally after scoring a dramatic win in the Motul Petit Le Mans – clinching its third IMSA championship, and first DPi championship title.
The team won the Rolex 24 once again as the GTP era opened in 2023, and a subsequent win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park put MSR back in the title fight going into the final stretch of the season.
MSR continues to work on future sports car plans while focusing on it’s 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES effort which will see MSR’s IMSA championship winning driver Tom Blomqvist make his full-season INDYCAR debut as well as Felix Rosenqvist who will join MSR in it’s second full-season seat.
Drivers that have raced for MSR’s sports car program include Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal, Zak Brown, Burt and Brian Frisselle, Mark Blundell, Martin Brundle, Michael Valiante, Ian James, Matt Bell, Paul Tracy, Mike Borkowski, Duncan Dayton, Larry Conner, Paul Mears Jr., Rafa Matos, Ryan Dalziel, Sam Hornish, Jr., Ken Wilden, Colin Braun, and Rod MacLeod.