Meyer Shank Racing’s new IMSA DPi champion knows where he’ll be driving next year as MSR returns to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to race the new Acura ARX-06. It’s the outcome of a test this week in Sebring that could determine where Tom Blomqvist goes to work in 2024 and beyond.
The hard-charging son of Swedish rallying legend Stig Blomqvist was a revelation on his debut with MSR’s factory IMSA team, and with all of the speed and daring passes he produced for Jim Meyer and Mike Shank, the team wants to get a look at the 28-year-old in one of its NTT IndyCar Series entries.
MSR has 2016 IndyCar champion and 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud and four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves secured for 2023, but both are out of contract at the end of next season. Considering Blomqvist’s natural talent and his open-wheel background – he finished second in the 2014 British F3 championship behind Alpine Formula 1 driver Esteban Ocon and one spot ahead of new two-time F1 champion Max Verstappen – an opportunity to change paddocks could be on the horizon if MSR likes what it sees in Sebring.
“I remember joking with Jim and Mike saying, ‘Man, I want to have a crack in IndyCar, give me a shot in IndyCar,” Blomqvist said. “And to be honest, they were almost a little bit shocked, like, ‘Oh, you’re interested, you want to do that?’ I said, Hell yeah!’
“And then the [IMSA] season went on and the results kept coming and they said, ‘Let’s get you in this IndyCar, let’s try and make that, let’s see how you go. If that’s something you’re keen on and you do well, then who knows what the future may hold?’ That’s where my roots [are]; as a kid, I grew up wanting to try and go to Formula 1. And I veered off early into touring cars, DTM, and so on, and now I’ve come back towards what my strengths as a racing driver were in the first place. That was where I felt most comfortable.”
Blomqvist is prepared to be beaten up by the faster, lighter, and more powerful No. 60 Dallara DW12-Honda normally driven by Pagenaud.
“That IndyCar is something I’m hoping that I gel with, obviously,” he said. “I’m gonna be hanging out my ass, man, because these things are brutal to drive. I’m under no illusion that I’m going to be dead come the end of that day. But yeah, I’m intrigued to see how I get on and I’m motivated to give it my best shot. And then who knows? Maybe I hate it. Maybe I’m useless.
“I like open-wheel racing. That’s where I started and all the way up until I became a professional, but I’m really pumped for it. Maybe I need to take them out, get Mike and Jim [drunk] and get a deal on the table.”
Although he’s fully aware that the results of this week’s test could set some bigger things in motion one year from now, Blomqvist says he will let his IndyCar test take a natural course within MSR as he prepared to defend the team’s IMSA title with the new Hybrid Acura ARX-06 GTP.
“To be honest, I’m pretty chilled out and pretty relaxed,” he said. “[But] I’m not stupid. I know if I do well, and what I know of Mike and Jim, they’d obviously love to see me do well, right. I’m pretty sure if it was something that both parties wanted to make happen, it could happen. Both of us are aware that there would be probably an opportunity in the future if it went well.”