to his collection in the Florida endurance classic with Acura.

It marks a remarkable turnaround for a driver who went through a difficult phase in his final years with BMW, but whose junior single-seater record suggested that the kind of performances he has shown lately at MSR have always been possible.

PLUS: How MSR took Acura to the first win of sportscar racing's new era

After all, this is the driver that finished second in the stacked 2014 Formula 3 European Championship field. That year’s champion was current Alpine Formula 1 man Esteban Ocon, while the third-placed driver was car racing rookie Max Verstappen - who was fast-tracked to F1 with Toro Rosso the following season.

With Verstappen going on to become a modern F1 great, any driver that was able to go toe-to-toe with him even at an early stage in the Dutchman’s career is clearly a serious talent. And yet, it’s only in the last year or so that we’ve seen Blomqvist hit the highs that made him a two-time finalist in the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.

“When I was in F3 I was competing against Max and Ocon and some big guys that are racing in F1 now,” Blomqvist told Autosport after his triumph last weekend. “I feel like I have the talent to be there as well, but things didn’t work out, didn’t go in that direction. 

“I struggled for a few years, I probably wasn’t in the right environment, but Mike [Shank] and Jim [Meyer] have allowed me to reach the potential that I showed earlier on in my career.” 

The reference to not being in the right environment refers to BMW, where Blomqvist spent five seasons as a factory driver from 2015 to 2019. He was initially signed to race in the DTM (beating ex-Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen to the vacant seat in the Bavarian marque’s roster in the process), and the collaboration started promisingly enough with a win in the first year and a lofty sixth in the standings in the next. 

Blomqvist beat future F1 aces Verstappen and Giovinazzi to second in the F3 standings in 2014 behind Ocon

Photo by: XPB Images / LAT Photographic

But then somehow, Blomqvist fell out of favour within the marque, spending a brief stint with the BMW-aligned Andretti Formula E team before being axed in favour of Stephane Sarrazin, and then losing his DTM drive after 2017. He made only sporadic outings at the wheel of the M8 GTE in 2018, and left the brand after a season in IMSA’s GTLM ranks.

It wasn’t until Blomqvist joined Jota for an assault on the LMP2 class of the World Endurance Championship in 2021, following a relatively quiet 2020, that he was noticed again by Shank, who was looking for a pair of new DPi drivers after Dane Cameron joined Porsche and Olivier Pla was ditched before the end of a disappointing season.

“He was with BMW and he did a lot of high level stuff, and then fell out of favour or I don't know what happened, but he was a free agent,” said Shank. “I started looking at his numbers and I'm like, ‘we should test this guy’. 

I said, ‘This is our guy.’ There's no question about it.

“He reminds me a little bit when [Robert] Wickens came into IndyCar out of DTM. He's just got this - he truly believes he's the fastest guy out there, and he proved it, even that first stint of his from the get-go [on Saturday]. We believe in him.”

And it’s that sense of trust that Blomqvist, who superbly handled the pressure of qualifying, starting and finishing the #60 MSR Acura at Daytona, believes has been the key to getting back on top of his game after his spell in the doldrums.

“I feel really good in this team,” Blomqvist says. “They put so much faith in me, which gives me a lot of confidence and enables me to get the best out of myself. It makes me feel very relaxed when I’m driving. It’s been amazing to be part of this team.”

In Shank Blomqvist has a figure who has given him full backing

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

late last year, prompting some to suggest that a move to the single-seater series with the same group would be the logical next step for his career.

Asked about just such a possibility, Blomqvist replies: “I would love to give that a crack but unfortunately it’s not down to me. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing on-track, keep pressuring Mike and Jim… and we’ll see if there are any possibilities.”

But whether it’s in an IndyCar or an Acura ARX-06, it’s clear that MSR has no intention of letting go its prized asset any time soon.

“I went after him,” said Shank. “Now we've got him locked up. He isn't going anywhere!”

Co-owner Meyer added: “Mike said, I'm going to test this guy. I go, I don't even know who this guy is. He goes, ‘Leave it to me’, and then literally one minute later, he said, ‘We're done. We have who we need, our future in sports car racing, and it's great’.


Blomqvist has now won back-to-back Daytona 24 Hours and looks well set to continue his success in IMSA with MSR

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

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