- Acura claims first victory in new, electrified IMSA GTP sports car racing era
- Meyer Shank Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport repeat 2022’s 1-2 sweep of the 24-hour endurance racing classic
- Acura ARX-06 wins in competition debut with hybrid powertrain
Defending Rolex 24 at Daytona and series champions – Acura and Meyer Shank Racing – combined to score their second consecutive Rolex 24 victory today at Daytona International Speedway, in the start of the GTP hybrid racing era in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.
The event marked the successful racing debut for the electrified Acura ARX-06 prototype sports car, the second successive win at Daytona for the Meyer Shank Racing team, and the third consecutive Rolex 24 win for Acura in the North American crown jewel of endurance sports car racing [see Fast Facts section below].
Starting from the pole, the MSR Acura driver lineup of Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud led the opening hour, and dominated early portions of the twice-around-the-clock contest; until a series of caution flags closed up the field for the final eight hours of the race.
However, the caution flags also enabled the Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 recover from a series of minor earlier delays, moving into second place in the final hours. Together, the two Acura teams fought off the competition throughout the closing laps to score their second consecutive Acura 1-2 at Daytona.
Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
In the production-based GTD class, Acura NSX GT3 Evo22s from Gradient Racing and Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR both persevered to take home fourth and sixth place finishes respectively.
Gradient Racing, with a lineup comprised of veteran Acura NSX driver Katherine Legge, Mario Farnbacher and Marc Miller, partnered with rookie Sheena Monk on her IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut for the Rolex 24. The team overcame a late race fuel fire that set them off strategy, coupled with a massive fuel-saving effort at the finish, to bring their #66 Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 home fourth.
At Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR, Ashton Harrison, the reigning Fanatec GT World Challenge America presented by AWS champion for Acura, partnered with Wayne Taylor Racing Super Trofeo drivers Danny Formal and Kyle Marcelli, as well as NTT INDYCAR SERIES race-winner Ryan Briscoe to bring home a sixth-place finish to open their 2023 Michelin Endurance Cup campaign.
Rolex 24 Race Results
- 1st overall - #60 Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaug; Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06
- 2nd overall - #10 Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Brendon Hartley and Ricky Taylor; Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06
- 4th GTD - #66 Mario Farnbacher, Katherine Legge, Marc Miller and Sheena Monk; Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
- 6th GTD - #93 Ryan Briscoe, Danny Formal, Ashton Harrison and Kyle Marcelli; Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
|DPi Manufacturers’ Championship||Teams’ Championship (after 1 of 9 rounds)|
|1. Acura||385||1. Meyer Shank Racing||378|
|2. Cadillac||350||2. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport||355|
|3. BMW||328||3. Cadillac Racing with Chip Ganassi||332|
|4. BMW||312||4. Action Express Racing||304|
|Michelin Endurance Cup Manufacturers||Teams (after 1 of 4 endurance races)|
|1. Acura||15||1. Meyer Shank Racing||13|
|2. Cadillac||12||2. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti||10|
|3. Porsche||8||3. Action Express||10|
|4. BMW||7||4. Cadillac Racing with Chip Ganassi||8|
- Acura has now won the last three consecutive Rolex 24s at Daytona, and Meyer Shank Racing successfully defended its race win from 2022.
- Meyer Shank Racing successfully defended its title with a repeat win today. In last year’s final race of the Daytona Prototype Interntional (DPi) era, the winning MSR Acura ARX-05 was driven by Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.
- The Wayne Taylor Racing lineup of Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi claimed the win in 2021’s twice-around-the-clock contest, 20 years after Acura’s first Daytona class win in 1991.
- This was Acura’s ninth Rolex 24 as a prototype manufacturer (1991-93, 2018-23). In addition to the overall wins in 2021 and 2022 – and in 2016 under the HPD/Honda banner – Acura won the Camel Lights class at Daytona in 1991 and again in 1992.
Tom Blomqvist (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06): Rolex 24 Race Winner, 2nd consecutive Rolex victory for Meyer Shank Racig and third in a row for Acura: “It’s a team effort. What’s amazing here at MSR 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.”
Ricky Taylor (#10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport ARX-06) Finished second: “First of all, it was an amazing job by Acura and HPD for giving us two cars to fight for the win. I don’t think it can be overstated how amazing that accomplishment is when considering the likes of Porsche and BMW and the struggles they had. Our cars ran flawlessly. To our team, this accomplishment of consecutive top-two finishes is really unprecedented, especially considering it persists through different car manufacturers and specifications. This is our ninth top two since 2013, and I don’t think any other team in the world has that type of consistency in 24-hour races. Lastly, my teammates all drove like champions. It was inspiring to watch Filipe at the end, charging through the field like that. He always gives everything and leaves nothing on the table. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace for the win and ended up second.”
Sheena Monk (#66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) finished fourth in her GTD debut: “I obviously ecstatic to finish fourth in my first IMSA GTD race. But, coming Monday morning, it will be ‘back to the drawing board’ to try to keep improving. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this season. My goals are still the same: try to finish on the podium at every race and be the top ‘Bronze’ [rated] driver. The start was daunting, but I was very aware role: maintain a strong pace and keep the car safe. I’m really happy with my effort. I’m just growing and learning; and incredibly grateful to be alongside a bunch of experienced people for it.”
Ashton Harrison (#93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) finished sixth in GTD: ”It feels pretty good. We put on one heck of a show at Acura, with the two GT3 NSXs alongside the GTP class. I'm really excited for the brand. I'm heartbroken about how ours ended [delayed by a mechanical issue in the final laps], but we did such a great job, the team did so well for our first-ever Rolex 24. It's time to get back to work and hopefully finish on the podium or win. I'm so proud of [co-drivers] Kyle [Marcelli] and Danny [Formal]—and Ryan [Briscoe] slotted in like he had been driving this NSX for year. We had a great time, and I really enjoyed dicing it up with my buddy Mario out there. We're looking forward to [the next race at] Sebring.
David Salters (President, Honda Performance Development) on Rolex 24 win by Acura and Meyer Shank Racing: “Winning today is unbelievable, to be honest. This program involves a lot of people, all of whom work really, really, really hard to do this. So the real privilege is to work with those people, and achieve days like today. And it doesn’t happen all the time. So when it does pay off, it’s all the more special. In the two years [it took to design, build and develop the Acura ARX-06], I think it's the best thing I’ve been involved in. So well done everyone at Acura Motorsports, Honda Performance Development, ORECA, Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport. If this weekend was not a demonstration of ‘Precision Crafted Performance’, I don’t know what is. This game is not rocket science, it’s getting the right people, in the right places, and letting them do their job. So, ‘is it worth it’? Oh, hell yes. And it’s because of the people you get to share it.”
The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now moves to central Florida for the 71st annual Mobil-1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Saturday, March 18 in Sebring, Fla.
Acura Motorsports social media content and video links from the Rolex 24 at Daytona can be found on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd), Twitter (twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD). Additional features and long-form videos can be found on the Honda Racing/HPD YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV).
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