The decision to use Tom Blomqvist this weekend in Toronto, while drawing from a single day of IndyCar experience gained eight months ago in Florida, speaks volumes about the belief Mike Shank and Jim Meyer have in their 29-year-old IMSA star.

They could have signed an IndyCar veteran to deputize for Simon Pagenaud after IndyCar’s medical staff did not provide clearance for the injured Frenchman to race on the streets of Toron to, but the son of Swedish rallying legend Stig Blomqvist has been entrusted to represent Meyer Shank Racing this weekend in the NTT IndyCar Series after leading the team to glory in IMSA.

“Firstly, obviously, I’m sending my best wishes to Simon,” Blomqvist said of his friend and occasional IMSA teammate. “I’m wishing him a speedy recovery. No one likes to see that. But I’m pretty excited. I’m also well aware of the challenges that face me. This is the hardest thing you can do. I’ve only driven the car once. It was a while ago. I don’t know the track, and it’s not exactly an easy track, right? It’s got walls all around it. It’s bumpy. And to be honest, as a racing driver, when you don’t know a track, don’t really know the car, that’s the worst combo ever.

“When you know one of the two, it’s a bit easier, but when you don’t know either, it’s gonna be so hard. Obviously, the team’s aware of that. They’re gonna do absolutely all they can to get me up to speed. I’m gonna be like a kid in school, studying everything I possibly can to make sure I’m as prepared as possible. But ultimately, nothing is going to prepare me properly for the real deal. I’ll be jumping in deep, for sure. But I’m up for the challenge. It’s an experience that can only help me as a racing driver going forward.”

A veteran of European junior open-wheel racing before his services were secured by BMW and other factories in sports car competition, Blomqvist is among the fastest and most versatile talents working today. From GT racing to Formula E, the British-born Blomqvist has been a standout in every discipline, and when MSR needed to upgrade its IMSA roster heading into 2022, he was the main acquisition, leading the team to two big wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Petit Le Mans and seven total podiums from 10 rounds with former teammate Oliver Jarvis.

Together, with assistance from Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves at the longest enduros, Blomqvist led the way to delivering the IMSA DPi championship for Acura and MSR.

Partnered with Colin Braun in 2023 and MSR’s IndyCar duo for the long events, Blomqvist has continued his rocket-like ways with the new Acura ARX-06 hybrid GTP, taking the pole and crossing the finish line first at the Rolex 24, and setting pole last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on the outskirts of Toronto where he and Braun went to victory lane once again.

Minus the power steering and other comforts offered by his GTP car, Blomqvist is ready for the heat and exhaustion the No. 60 Honda IndyCar has waiting for him once practice gets under way on Friday.

“I’m going to be dead,” he said. “I’m going to be destroyed. But I’m mentally and physically prepared. I’m also well aware of my capabilities. I’ve driven everything, which helps you in circumstances like this.”

If he’s anything other than last in the field during that session, and close to last for the rest of the event, it will be a surprise due to all of the challenges he’s facing. But that doesn’t mean Blomqvist will happily accept being at the wrong end of the timing sheets, and it’s that kind of fighting spirit that fits perfectly with MSR’s owners.

“If I’m at the bottom of the timesheets, I guess it’s expected, but I’ll still be mad if I’m last at the end of FP1,” he said. “I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been so unsure in my life about how this is going to pan out; I feel like it’s going to be better than expected or it’s going to be really, really tough.

“One thing is for sure: I’m going to have a lot of fun, because these cars are proper racing cars. You have to hustle them, you can push hard in quali, and that’s kind of the racing I enjoy. I just don’t have that much time to understand all the intricacies of the car. There’s not much practice in IndyCar, but the practice on Friday, I’m gonna be out pumping around every lap I can get.”

Without the luxury of spending a day on a driver-in-the-loop simulator before FP1, Blomqvist will be keeping his phone and tablet busy while consuming in-car videos on YouTube. And once he gets a chance to experience the tricky 1.8-mile, 11-turn street circuit on Friday, his aggression is likely to rise on Saturday and Sunday.

“Hopefully, I have a good night’s sleep on Friday and my brain wakes up next day and goes, ‘Oh, I feel a lot more comfortable now. And let’s see what I can do,’” he said. “Typically, that’s what happens when you drive. You know, it’s good to have that nice break between first practice and second practice. But I’m still not expecting any miracles from me, and I don’t think anyone should. But I’d just like to come away from the weekend and be happy with my performance and what I did with such limited mileage.”