- Drivers Colin Braun, Tom Blomqvist and Helio Castroneves make late-race charge to victory in #60 MSR Acura ARX-06
- Second consecutive victory for MSR and Acura in season-ending IMSA endurance event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
- Third win for the hybrid-powered ARX-06 prototype in debut 2023 season
BRASELTON, GA – The 26th running of the Motul Petit Le Mans saw Acura teams and drivers take the battle for the IMSA Manufacturers', Drivers' and Teams' championships down to the final minutes of the 10-hour event today at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Meyer Shank Racing prevailed in a chaotic final hour to take a second consecutive victory for Acura and the team; with Acura finishing a close third in the Manufacturers' Championship battle with three victories over the course of the nine-race season.
Acura ARX-06 Hybrid Prototype
The #60 Meyer Shank Racing and starting driver Tom Blomqvist lost time early in the contest when it was caught up in a multi-car nose-to-tail incident in traffic. Suspension repairs in pit lane cost the Acura two laps, but hard work from the team and co-drivers Colin Braun and Helio Castroneves saw the #60 back on the lead lap by half distance.
With just over an hour remaining, the #60 Acura was running in seventh place; but a strategic pit call by the MSR team and a series of ultra-quick laps from Braun moved the ARX-06 up to second. Following a caution in the final hour, Braun swept around leader Renger van der Zande on a restart to take the lead maintain that advantage to the checkers.
For the first nine hours of the 10-hour endurance contest, the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport ARX-06 of Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor and Louis Deletraz was in contention for the victory, and the drivers' and teams' championships that would have accompanied a win. But contact with the #31 of Pipo Derani sent the Acura – with Albuquerque at the wheel – hard into the Turn 1 barrier. Albuquerque was transported to an area hospital for further examination.
Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
In the production-based GTD category, a strong run for the #66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Katherine Legge, Sheena Monk and Marc Miller came to a halt with just over an hour remaining with a transmission issue after regularly running in the top eight.
The #93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTRAndretti NSX suffered a long delay behind the pit wall to repair a steering issue, losing multiple laps in the process. But the driver lineup of Ashton Harrison, Kyle Marcelli and Danny Formal pressed on regardless, and were rewarded for their efforts with a 14th-place finish along with the GTD fastest race lap of 1:20.248 for Marcelli.
Motul Petit Le Mans Acura Race Results
- 1st GTP - #60 Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun and Helio Castroneves; Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06
- 9th GTP - #10 Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor and Louis Deletraz; Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 [Did not finish – contact]
- 14th GTD - #93 Ashton Harrison, Kyle Marcelli and Danny Formal; Racers Edge Motorsports with WTRAndretti Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
- 15th GTD - #66 Katherine Legge, Sheena Monk and Marc Miller; Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 [Did not finish – mechanical]
Colin Braun (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06) Race winner, third victory of 2023, his first victory in the Petit Le Mans: "Man, this took me back to the days of me and Renger [van der Zande] racing each other in LMPC. I'm super proud of the Meyer Shank guys, Acura and HPD. They never gave up all year. My newborn son Roxen's here for his first race, so he's a good luck charm. What a day. It was looking dicey for a little bit, but man it was a blast. That was all I had at the end for sure."
Tom Blomqvist (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06) Race winner, his second consecutive Petit Le Mans victory with MSR: "We delivered once again, for HPD and for Acura. The boys and girls at MSR, they never give up. With a few hours to go, it looked like our race was done, but no, we made the right strategy calls and Colin absolutely killed it on that restart. That guy is phenomenal on cold tires. I couldn't be more proud of this entire team."
Marc Miller (#66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) 15th in GTD [not running – mechanical]: "We had a strong car once night came, the track was really coming to us. We were sitting in the top 10, just looking for a good result here in the last hour. There's always a lot of attrition here in the final two hours, and unfortunately this time we're part of that attrition. Sheena [Monk] did a great job. She actually got all of her drive time done straight through, while it was still hot. Then Kat [Legge] and I did a string of single stints, which was fun. But then she lost drive coming out of Turn 7. It's frustrating, as we've been strong in all of the long races this year. Here again, we had good pace. Maybe not race-winning, but we still looked set for a strong result. But it is what it is. Thanks to everyone at Gradient Racing, Acura and HPD for everything they've done for us this year."
David Salters (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's second consecutive Acura Petit Le Mans victory and the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season: "Another dramatic season finale at the Petit Le Mans. This is a truly stunning sports car venue and event, made so special by the fans and the spectacular racing. We came away with a pole position and another win. Bravo! Hats off to the race craft and skill of the MSR team and its drivers. This is also a true testament to the skill of our amazing team at HPD together with the amazing team at ORECA to make a very fast, electrified Acura ARX-06 race car. It certainly attained our goal of precision crafted performance. I am especially proud of our work on the electrified power train, vehicle and control strategies - after a whole season of endurance racing we never missed a beat - what a testament to our engineering, manufacturing and assembly groups. We came here fighting for the drivers' and manufacturers' championships. Again, to be in the fight is a testament to our brilliant people and teams. We're disappointed to fail at the end, but that's racing, we lick our wounds and learn how to improve. I would sincerely like to thank from the heart our amazing people and our amazing fans and IMSA's amazing team, what a season!"
- Acura is a three-time series champion in the premier prototype division since joining the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2018, claiming the Manufacturer, Driver and Team Daytona Prototype International (DPi) titles in 2019-20 and again in 2022 with the Acura ARX-05.
- The Acura ARX-06 is the first hybrid-powered racing car designed, developed and built by HPD, the North American racing arm for both Honda and Acura, in partnership with chassis supplier ORECA [ORganisation Exploitation Competition Automobiles].
Today's Motul Petit Le Mans was the final round of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The 2024 season begins in January with the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.
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