Blomqvist’s Qualifications for IndyCar: Key Attributes

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The attributes that make Blomqvist a strong fit for IndyCar

Meyer Shank Racing may not hold the heavyweight status of some of its peers in the current series, but with Tom Blomqvist’s wealth of experience both with the team and in hybrid racing in GTP, along with the expertise of a former rival turned teammate, the British driver is eager to hit the track.

Blomqvist’s journey to the IndyCar Series isn’t one of the less-traveled paths but rather a testament to perseverance.

Born in Britain and raised in New Zealand, he has forged a diverse background that includes a promising junior formula career transitioning into DTM, Formula E, and other ventures before establishing himself in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

After participating in three introductory races in North America’s premier open-wheel championship last year, Blomqvist is now preparing for a full-time rookie campaign, set to drive the Honda-powered No. 66 entry for Meyer Shank Racing.

Blomqvist's Qualifications for IndyCar: Key Attributes
Blomqvist’s Qualifications for IndyCar: Key Attributes (Credits: Autosport)

“This is the first time in a while where I’ve felt this anxious energy about getting started because it’s so new,” says the 30-year-old. “I’ve been entrenched in something so familiar for the past eight, nine years, and transitioning to IndyCar is a whole new ball game. But I’m genuinely excited to kick things off. It’s a completely fresh challenge, albeit a continuation, a natural progression from my junior career that I sidestepped since 2015.”

Blomqvist’s year has commenced on a positive note, securing a close second place at the Daytona 24 Hours with Action Express Racing’s Cadillac, following previous wins at the same event with MSR Acuras in 2022 and 2023. However, his focus now shifts back to single-seaters.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, particularly in an IndyCar,” adds the son of 1984 World Rally champion Stig. “I haven’t been behind the wheel since basically the race in Laguna Seca [in September].

So, it’s a relief that I managed to accumulate some mileage towards the end of last season, mentally preparing me for the challenges that may lie ahead. I’m just eager to hit the track at the end of the month; it’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be fun.

“There’s a lot happening behind the scenes – it certainly opened my eyes towards the end of last year, participating in those events and identifying areas where I personally need improvement. Now, with a full season ahead, I’m keen to get things underway.”

Blomqvist’s IndyCar journey gained momentum after he tested with MSR in October 2022. The process accelerated following Simon Pagenaud’s accident at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last July, forcing the 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner out for the rest of the season.

This prompted MSR to include Blomqvist in selected rounds, with his debut in Toronto marking a promising start despite the challenging circuit.

While results were mixed, with a best finish of 24th at Portland International Raceway, the highlight undoubtedly came at the season finale in Laguna Seca, where Blomqvist showcased his skill by maneuvering through the field, reaching as high as sixth before encountering race incidents.

Blomqvist's Qualifications for IndyCar: Key Attributes
Blomqvist’s Qualifications for IndyCar: Key Attributes (Credits: Motorsport)

Reflecting on his 2023 experience, Blomqvist acknowledges its significance in preparing him for the upcoming season: “It’s tremendously helpful, especially in understanding the dynamics of the race weekend – from practice sessions to qualifying, and other nuances that aid a driver in optimizing their performance.

When everything is new, your mind operates at full throttle, so having that prior experience eases the transition significantly.”

Adapting to the incoming hybrid engine poses another challenge, expected to join the grid after the 108th running of the Indy 500 on May 26th. Mike Shank, MSR co-owner, highlighted Blomqvist’s experience with hybrid power in IMSA’s LMDh class as a key reason for his inclusion despite his limited time in IndyCar.

“In my view, truly exceptional drivers possess the capacity to manage multiple inputs effortlessly,” says Shank. “Tom demonstrated this in GTP, and it’s a valuable skill in IndyCar’s transition to hybrid technology. He has that cognitive ability.”

Blomqvist’s diverse background, including Formula E experience, instills confidence in his ability to adapt to the new system: “Transitioning to GTP was relatively seamless due to my exposure to complex systems in Formula E. IndyCar’s setup is even more straightforward, so I’m not overly concerned. The primary challenge lies in optimizing the system’s utilization without compromising car performance, particularly in terms of braking.”

While Blomqvist embarks on his full-time IndyCar journey, familiarity remains within the team as MSR’s IMSA program personnel transition to support the IndyCar operations. Additionally, teammate Felix Rosenqvist brings a wealth of experience, having competed against Blomqvist in various series.

“Tom and I raced against each other in the past, so there’s a level of understanding and camaraderie,” says Rosenqvist. “Our collective experience, along with the team’s expertise, provides a competitive edge. We’re well-prepared for the challenges ahead.”

With the guidance of seasoned drivers like Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist aims to maximize his performance on a race-by-race basis while focusing on long-term competitiveness: “Ultimately, my goal is personal satisfaction with my performance. While podiums and victories are aspirational, my immediate target is to consistently perform at my best and contribute to the team’s success. Long-term competitiveness is the objective, and I’m committed to achieving it.”

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