Meyer Shank Racing aims for 2nd consecutive Rolex 24 victory

DIESTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Michael Shank made a name for himself in motorsports last year, winning the most prestigious endurance race in North America and then winning the IMSA championship.

In between, he expanded his IndyCar program and pursued a meticulous plan to establish Meyer Shank Racing in an elite motorsport organization.

Now Acura is set to usher in a new era of sports cars as IMSA opens its season Saturday with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a two-round-the-clock endurance race that will be the first to use hybrid engines in North American motorsports. The overall GTP class has been switched to hybrids this year and the Shank is one of two Acura factory parts.

MSR will try to defend last year’s victory from pole after qualifying for Tom Blomqvist’s car – which Shank celebrated as exuberantly as he did last year’s IMSA championship. Shank, who has two Rolex 24 wins, an Indy 500 victory and last year’s IMSA championship, says running to a pole-victory “gives me more joy than I’ve felt in a long time.”


“Because what’s happened in the past doesn’t matter to me, or to anybody else who’s paying us back. What’s going on now is what’s going on here,” Shank said, adding that Honda Performance President David Salters simply told him Shank’s job with Acura “should go It was difficult as we can and leave everything there to determine and that’s what we did.”

In the No. 60 he clearly prepared the line of Bloomqvist, Colin Braun and endurance drivers Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud achieved four practice sessions and won the pole. Castroneves, who turns 48 in May, is chasing his third consecutive Rolex win with MSR as well as his fifth Indianapolis 500 record.

Castroneves won his first Rolex in 2021 with Wayne Taylor Racing, Shank’s top contender in IMSA, because both teams want to be a factory Acura project. Both would also like to expand to two cars and Acura is currently running a two car top split between MSR and Wayne Taylor Racing.

But Shank said the transition to a hybrid has forged a strong relationship between the two teams, and, now that Taylor has partnered with Andretti Autosport, Shank believes his IndyCar partnership with Andretti will benefit him.

The whole organization’s ascent — Shank won his first Rolex 24 in 2012 and another decade later — has since picked up strong partners Jim Meyer, a Liberty Media investor, and strong funding from AutoNation and Sirius. Still got a complex like a dog team.

“Maybe it’s my OCD and I have problems, but I always felt like we were under-looked at and not respected,” Shank said. “I’ve always fought for respect and people look at me like I’m crazy. But I’m telling you, there’s always something wrong with me for some reason.

“I went from Michael Shank Racing to Meyer Shank Racing, Liberty Media is a big part of my life. These men are on the loose, waiting for us to win and not lose money. Same with Jim Meyer. It’s pressure, the core pressure of group ownership, and I take it very seriously.”

Pagenaud, who just completed his first IndyCar season with MSR, praised his boss’ enthusiastic approach. Pagenaud’s debut season had one podium and 15 podiums. Castroneves finished 18th at the station, and Pagenaud finished seventh and eighth at Indy.

Shank said Pagenaud’s team didn’t give him what he needed to be successful last season, but he won before the end of the year. Now Pagenaud believes he has won the top five times that year in IndyCar, and the Rolex lineup is confident he can return to back-to-back 24-hour wins.

“I feel like the team, HPD and Acura have done a really nice job making the car better and better every test we’ve had. It’s crazy impressive how much more driver friendly the car is,” said Braun in his first season with MSR. “It’s just about the team and the work and the effort that the guys put in. This is owned by the Meyer Shank Racing group. I really worked, it’s really hard to make those big gains and I think it shows in our performance.


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