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Shank admits IMSA future plans “coming down to the last minute”

Meyer Shank Racing’s chances of remaining in the IMSA SportsCar Championship next season remain in flux, despite fighting back in this year’s points race.

#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

The factory Acura team’s current deal ends after this season’s Petit Le Mans in October and its future with the brand was put in question following the manipulation of tire data in the season-opening Daytona 24 Hours, which it won.

The team was assessed a 200-point penalty for the infringement and it apologized to Acura and HPD, along with its partners, which finance the operation. Acura is currently making no comment on its IMSA plans for 2024, beyond its announcement of an extension with Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport – which will run two cars next year.

“We’re still working on that,” said Shank when asked of MSR’s IMSA plans for 2024. “They are up in the air right now.

“Those guys, since a rough January, they have battled back and they’re in the championship again, which is unbelievable. You put those points back on the board, and they’ve checked out in the championship.

“We don’t know yet, we’ll know probably in four to five weeks where we sit on that. This is my 20th year as a team owner in the Rolex [24 at Daytona], we’ve won it three times, and it was kinda the start of all this, so we’re doing everything we can to stay in it.”

#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Shank’s options outside of Acura in the GTP class are narrow, with only Porsche currently selling customer cars. Cadillac is the only marque that partners with multiple race teams in Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing.

Lamborghini joins the series with Iron Lynx next year, while BMW is partnered with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

“It’s coming down to the last minute, which I don’t like a lot,” said Shank. “But that’s the way it is right now.

“I don’t know what the odds are, they float. It goes from 50/50 to 80% right now.”

When asked if it depended on a manufacturer deal, he replied: “That’s a good question. In my life, and Jim [Meyer] and I have yelled at each other over this for a while now, the team that we have created on that side has won everything, is extremely competitive, has fought back from a 200-point deficit and has a chance at the championship again.

“In my mind, they’re at the pinnacle level of sportscar racing and that’s where they deserve to be. So, you can imagine where we think we need to be.”

Team co-owner Meyer interjected: “We’ve got two races left this season, we’re not out of contention, we’re right in the thick of it. You’re going to see us guys come hard.”

Shank added: “If we’re in contention when we leave this place [Indianapolis] in a month, you guys should come see Petit [Le Mans] because it’s going to be a Martinsville short track race in my mind.”

#14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat, #60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

#14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat, #60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

MSR’s new IndyCar signing Tom Blomqvist, who won the championship last year with Oliver Jarvis and the Daytona 24 Hours for the past two seasons, said he wants to remain part of its plans as an extra IMSA endurance driver.

“The 24 Hours of Daytona obviously has been a big part of me for the last few years, having won that event twice now,” he said. “Obviously I'd love to still be able to do that, if possible.”

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