Meyer Shank Racing, Acura win Daytona and open GTP’s hybrid era

Meyer Shank Racing, Acura win Daytona and open GTPIcon Sportswire – Getty Images

Last year, Meyer Shank Racing won the 24 Hours of Daytona and the IMSA Championship driving an Acura ARX-05. This year was a reset, the first-ever race for the hybrid GTP class. MSR has made a change to its full-time driver lineup and moved to Acura’s new LMDh spec ARX-06, but they are starting this reset exactly as they ended the previous era.

Although the race was competitive overnight, the No. 60 and driver Tom Blomqvist in particular were the dominant force for most of the 24-hour race. Blomqvist qualified the car on pole, held the lead as the starting driver and pulled away to build a huge lead on several late restarts. He takes a win alongside new co-driver Colin Braun and the team’s IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud. It’s Braun’s first overall win at Daytona, but the second in a row for all of Blomqvist, Castroneves and Pagenaud.

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing ARX-06 completed a 1-2 debut for the new Acura racer, which uses a new turbocharged 2.4-liter V-6. Cadillac’s new V-LMDh, which uses a naturally aspirated V-8 that has more than twice the displacement of the Acura, completes the first lap in third and fourth place. The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing entry, the full-time entry for that group, takes third; the number 02 who will race in the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship all season comes fourth.

Both Acuras overcame a problem that required flushing fluid into the pit lane every four hours and requiring trackside contact. The No. 01 Cadillac also bounced back from an early blow to the rear body requiring repair.

Both Porsche and BMW also debuted GTP cars in the race, but their days were marred by reliability issues. The Penske-run Porsches were exceptionally fast overnight, but the team’s No. 7 963 had to be replaced early and the No. 6 car developed a transmission problem late. Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s BMW M Hybrid V8s struggled all day at the overall pace, but their No. 25 day was cut short early by a problem in the hybrid system. Both BMWs and Porsche No. 6 eventually finished, albeit many laps behind.

In LMP2, Proton Competition’s James Allen beat the No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing car to the line by just 0.016 seconds to take the class win. Allen was accompanied in that car by co-drivers Fred Poordad, Francesco Pizzi and Gianmaria Bruni. The No. 88 AF Corse car completed the class podium.

LMP3 was decided early by dropouts, leaving the No. 17 AWA entry of Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nicholas Varrone and Thomas Merrill alone in the first round with almost six hours left. The team won the class by 12 laps.

In GTD Pro, newly crowned Nürburgring road car lap record holder Maro Engel led Cooper MacNeil, Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon to a class win for WeatherTech Racing’s Proton Competition Mercedes AMG GT3. Engel held off both the No. 3 Corvette C8.R and No. 14 Lexus RC-F on the final restart.

Daniel Juncadella, Marco Sorenson, Roman de Angelis and Ian James won the pro-am GTD class ahead of Aston Martin and Heart of Racing, beating not only the other GTD cars, but also every competitor in GTD Pro. Magnus Racing’s No. 44 Aston Martin and Inception Racing’s No. 70 McLaren completed the podium.

The LMDh era is in full swing. IMSA returns for the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 18. Cadillac and Porsche will also run their LMDh spec cars at the season opener of the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship at the same track the day before.

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