until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Castroneves drops to Indy 500-only, Blomqvist gets full-time shot

by Jack Benyon
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning IMSA champion Tom Blomqvist will race full-time in IndyCar for Meyer Shank Racing next season, as Helio Castroneves drops back to an Indianapolis 500-only entry and joins the team’s ownership group.

Blomqvist impressed on the junior single-seater ladder beating a host of big names like Max Verstappen and Antonio Giovinazzi to take second in the 2014 European Formula 3 championship.

He had stints in DTM with BMW and in Formula E with Andretti, Jaguar and NIO, before winning the 2022 IMSA Sportscar title with Meyer Shank.

The Race’s sources indicated in May that Blomqvist was set for a drive with the team in some capacity in 2024, and he got the surprise opportunity to make his debut at the Toronto street race in July.

“It’s been a good ride the last two years in IMSA, but I’ve been itching to make the step up to IndyCar and this is an opportunity I’m eager and motivated to make the most of,” said Blomqvist who has been signed on a “multi-year” deal.

“IndyCar is an incredibly competitive series and I’m under no illusions in how difficult this championship can be, but I am extremely motivated to make the most of this exciting new challenge.”

Blomqvist is set to get an oval test later in the year – which could come at Gateway where the series races next – and is “excited” about the prospect of a new racing discipline having not tried ovals before.

In place of the injured Simon Pagenaud, Blomqvist was up against it on his debut in Toronto having found out two days before the weekend he’d be driving the car he had only tested once, eight months before, and had no experience of the Canadian track.

However, he still managed to impress with a lap 1.3s off the best in practice 2 before it was deleted, qualified 20th of 27 cars and was taken out on the first lap of the race in an incident where he probably shouldn’t have taken the field three-wide but also didn’t deserve to have his race ended.

Castroneves won the Indy 500 in a part-time second entry for the team in 2021, which turned into a two-year, full-time deal for 2022 onwards.

Helio Castroneves Climbs The Front Stretch Fence After Winning The 2021 Indianapolis 500 Referenceimagewithoutwatermark M50392

At the end of that deal, Castroneves will return to a part-time entry focusing on trying to become the first driver to win five Indy 500s.

As part of his new role in the ownership he will be a driver advisor and team ambassador, and joins Formula 1 owners Liberty in the Meyer Shank ownership group alongside Mike Shank and Jim Meyer.

“First I want to thank Mike, Jim and Liberty for accepting me as part of the ownership group,” said Castroneves.

“Throughout my career I’ve been very fortunate to surround myself with an amazing group of people and this journey will be my next chapter and I can’t wait for that.

“Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of fuel to burn inside in terms of driving and I will do that at the Indy 500 as I continue my pursuit of the Drive for Five.”

Pagenaud is still out injured with a concussion, and has been replaced at Nashville and for this weekend’s Indianapolis race by Linus Lundqvist.

MSR could have put Blomqvist back in the car this weekend for crucial track time ahead of next year for the driver, but the decision to put Lundqvist in the car again shows how seriously it is looking at him for next year.

While Pagenaud is still hopeful of returning this year, even before his crash it was uncertain whether the team would move on and choose a different driver as Pagenaud’s two-year deal expires at the end of the 2023 season.

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