MSR’s IMSA full-timers say Rolex 24 win “just the beginning”

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British pair Jarvis and Blomqvist took victory first time out in last weekend’s season-opener in the #60 Acura ARX-05 they shared with the team’s endurance driver Helio Castroneves and ‘fourth man’ Simon Pagenaud.

It marked MSR’s first win in the DPi ranks since it stepped up to IMSA’s top class last year as one of two one-car Acura squads, along with Wayne Taylor Racing, in the wake of the marque’s split from Team Penske.

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MSR endured a difficult 2021 season with full-time drivers Dane Cameron and Olivier Pla, with Cameron ending up a distant fifth in the drivers’ championship.

But Jarvis, who made the move to the team following the end of Mazda’s DPi program last year, said the way the team performed at Daytona belied their lack of previous success.

“I was so impressed sat up on the pit wall throughout that race,” said Jarvis. “It was so calm and methodical, the way they went about approaching the race. It was like they had won the race 10 times already.

“I wasn’t on the pit wall for the last hour, but up until that point, absolutely faultless, calm heads, and that’s what wins you races. Full credit to the team.

“It’s been an amazing experience so far. We’ve still got a full season to go, a lot of hard work to go. I’ve still got a lot to learn, I’m new to the car. And I just hope we can keep on getting better. This is the first of many.”

Blomqvist, for whom the Rolex 24 marked his first Daytona outing and his first IMSA race in the DPi class, added: “The atmosphere within the team has been splendid. I’ve really enjoyed my short time here at MSR. And to cap that off with a win on debut is fantastic.

“I would just like to thank Mike [Shank] and Jim [Meyer, team co-owners] for putting their faith in me and giving me this opportunity. And hopefully today I was able to repay a little bit of faith that they put in me. It’s been great so far. So hopefully this is just the beginning.”

Speaking about his team’s new full-time driver line-up, Meyer joked that Jarvis’s performances at Mazda in 2021 made the team “use his name in vain a lot”, while adding that Blomqvist had impressed Shank enough to land the other seat during his first test outing for MSR.

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Jarvis said that Shank had been “very honest” about the team’s 2021 struggles during his discussions about joining the team, but that ultimately it was an “easy decision” to sign up to drive the #60 Acura.

“I saw it from a different point of view [to Shank],” said the ex-Audi LMP1 driver. “Penske came into the championship [with Acura], Joest came into the championship [with Mazda]. And none of them blew anyone away in their first year. It’s a really competitive championship.

“And to see that progression, I knew it’s a team on the up. I knew they had huge amounts of capabilities. You saw the way they ran the IndyCar program. It was an easy decision for myself.”

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