Meyer Shank Racing announced that Tom Blomqvist will replace Helio Castroneves in the IndyCar Series in a multi-year agreement.
“This opportunity only arose since joining Mike [Shank] and his team, then just kind of proving to them that I was capable and worthy of getting given the shot in IndyCar,” said Blomqvist.
“I'm super, super grateful for that. I'm extremely excited. It's been a while. I've been doing something so different for so long, but I think time will tell. I'm pretty confident I'll figure this thing out.”
Blomqvist made his IndyCar debut for MSR on the streets of Toronto as a substitute for the still-recovering Simon Pagenaud. Blomqvist's debut lasted all of 10 seconds after being caught up in an incident shortly after the start of the race.
This signing will move Castroneves into an Indianapolis 500-only drive for the next few years. Castroneves scored MSR's first IndyCar win at the 2021 Indianapolis 500 and has driven full-time for the team since 2022.
In addition to stepping out of a full-time ride to focus on just the Indianapolis 500, the Brazilian will take on a minority ownership stake of the team, joining team co-owners Jim Meyer and Shank.
“I'm still very competitive, don't get me wrong, but there's [only] so much you can stretch that,” said Castroneves.
“When opportunity knocks on the door, you just can't all of a sudden say, ‘No, no, I'll wait.'
“It's not you that decided on making that opportunity. If the opportunity happens, you've got to decide it is now or never.
“That's why I was very fortunate to have everyone, the whole entire group, in favour.”
The team will keep using Honda engines in IndyCar after receiving approval to expand to a third entry for the Indianapolis 500.
“We wouldn't be able to do what we're doing next year without the support of HPD,” said Meyer.
After recent speculation about the condition of MSR's IMSA programme going forward, this is a welcome revelation.
IMSA handed MSR severe penalties after revealing that the team was manipulating tyre pressure data being sent to IMSA after winning January's Rolex 24 at Daytona, causing many to question whether MSR would continue with Acura.
Pagenaud's contract is up for renewal after 2023 and a decision on that has not been made. Pagenaud is still recovering after a savage practice accident in July at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.