COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Pataskala-based motorsports team Meyer Shank Racing will add a second IMSA sports car entry next year, fielding the most powerful type of race car available in American sports car racing.
MSR, which fields an Acura in the GTD class of IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, will add a high-powered Acura AXR-05 DPi prototype class entry to its Licking County stables in 2021.
The DPi prototypes – short for “Daytona Prototype International” – are the fastest IMSA class, reaching speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. They debuted at the 2017 24 Hours of Daytona, from which the car gets its name. Class manufacturers are Acura, Cadillac, Mazda and Nissan.
Prototypes are the only IMSA cars that do not have a street-legal equivalent, as IMSA is best known for its race cars that look like luxury vehicles one could find at a dealership.
MSR fielded cars in IMSA’s second-tier LMP2 prototype class in 2014 and 2015. MSR and Indianapolis-based Wayne Taylor Racing will take over Acura’s DPi efforts from Team Penske, which ends its partnership with the manufacturer after this season.
MSR won the GTD (“Grand Touring Daytona”) class championship last year with its No. 86 Acura NSX GT3, driven by Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher. Now with an entry in the fastest class, MSR will eye an overall WeatherTech Championship title.
“When Acura and (Honda Performance Development) chose Meyer Shank Racing to debut the Acura NSX GT3 in 2017, it was a big moment in our history,” MSR co-owner Michael Shank said in a release.
“I’m really proud of building a championship-winning program and everything that we’ve been able to accomplish together with the NSX,” Shank said. “As a team, we’ve been working towards the opportunity to go and fight for overall wins for a long time.”
MSR is also in its first full year fielding a car in the NTT IndyCar Series, the No. 60 Honda driven by Jack Harvey. Shank said earlier this month that he plans to add a second IndyCar entry in the near future.
MSR included in its Wednesday announcement a mockup of what their DPi prototype will look like. The car will feature a pink and black paint scheme, which the organization runs on its cars promote cancer research. Sirius XM will also be a prominent sponsor on the car because Shank’s co-owner is Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer.
The team’s announcement also comes days before IMSA is set to race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The headlining WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event is 2 p.m. Sunday. Class-specific and other races will be held Friday through Sunday.
MSR’s No. 86 GTD entry, driven by Farnbacher and Matt McMurry, currently leads the class championship standings.