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Meyer Shank Racing aims for second Rolex 24 win in a row

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Michael Shank ended last year sport car season by winning the most prestigious endurance race in North America and then the IMSA championship.

During that time, he expanded his IndyCar program and followed a meticulous plan to build Meyer Shank Racing into an elite racing team. sports car racing organization.

Now he is set to lead Acura Entering a new era of motorsport as IMSA kicks off the season on Saturday with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the two laps a day endurance race will make its debut mixture engines used in North American motorsport. The top GTP class has switched to hybrids this year, and Shank is one of two teams at the Acura plant.

MSR will attempt to defend last year’s win from the column after Tom Blomqvist’s qualifying run – something Shank celebrated as enthusiastically as he did in last year’s IMSA championship. Shank, a two-time Rolex 24 champion, Indy 500 champion and IMSA champion last year, said the pole run “gives me more joy than I’ve felt in a long time. “


“Because what happened in the past doesn’t matter to me or anyone else paying us. What matters now is what happens here,” Shank said, adding that Honda’s motobike Performance President David Salters simply told him that Shank’s job with the Acura “is to do the best you can and put it all out there to qualify and that’s what we did.” .”

Team Meyer Shank Racing, from left, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Michael Shank, Colin Braun and Tom Blomqvist. (AP photo/John Raoux)

The number 60 was clearly prepared and the lineup of Bloomqvist, Colin Braun and endurance racers Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud made it through four consecutive training sessions and won the pole. Castroneves, who will turn 48 in May, is with MSR in pursuit of both a third consecutive Rolex win as well as a fifth Indianapolis 500 record.

Castroneves won his first Rolex in 2021 with Wayne Taylor Racing, Shank’s flagship competition in IMSA as both teams wanted to be Acura’s flagship factory show. Both also want to expand into two cars and Acura currently runs a total of two cars distributed between MSR and Wayne Taylor Racing.

But Shank said the switch to hybrid has forged a strong bond between the two teams, and now that Taylor has partnered with Andretti Autosport, Shank believes his own IndyCar alliance with Andretti will be beneficial.

The entire evolution of the organization — Shank won the first Rolex 24 in 2012 and the second a decade later — has since picked up powerful partners like co-owner Jim Meyer. , investor Liberty Media and strong funding from AutoNation and Sirius. However, he still has the complication of being the weaker team.

“Maybe it’s my obsessive-compulsive disorder and the problems I’ve had, but I always feel like we’re being looked down upon and disrespected,” says Shank. “I’ve always struggled to earn respect and people look at me like I’m crazy. But I’m telling you, there’s always been something hidden with me for some reason.

“I have moved from Michael Shank Racing to Meyer Shank Racing, Liberty Media has been an important part of my life. These guys at Liberty, they want us to win and not lose money. And the same goes for Jim Meyer. There is a pressure, a core pressure from the ownership group, and I take that very seriously.”

Pagenaud, who just completed his first IndyCar season with MSR, praised the boss’s enthusiastic approach. Pagenaud had a disappointing first season with one podium and 15th place in the standings. Castroneves is 18th on the leaderboard and leads Pagenaud at seventh and eighth at Indy.

Shank has said that the team didn’t give Pagenaud what he needed to succeed last season, but turned a profit before the end of the year. Now, Pagenaud believes he’ll make the top five this season at IndyCar, and the Rolex lineup is confident they can win in a row for 24 hours.

“I feel like the team, HPD and Acura have done a really great job making the car better and better with every test we’ve done. Braun said in his first season with MSR. “It’s a lot about the team and the work and efforts those people put in. This Meyer Shank Racing team has worked really, really hard to achieve those great achievements and I think that shows in our performance.”


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