Meyer Shank Racing’s grand win to open the new IMSA GTP class at January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona has been retained, but the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has levied six penalties against the team for manipulating its minimum tire pressure data and running below the threshold set by official tire supplier Michelin during the season-opening race.
The thrilling result which gave Acura Motorsports and the Honda Performance Development team behind the Acura ARX-06 GTP model a debut victory with Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Helio Castroneves, and Simon Pagenaud behind the wheel came under scrutiny shortly after the race, and after more than a month of reviewing its findings, the series found MSR applied offsets to the information being transmitted by the tire pressure monitoring systems affixed to each wheel that was being seen and received by IMSA.
With a performance advantage to be found by running tire pressures slightly lower than the minimum pressure decreed by Michelin, the No. 60 Acura would be able to generate tire temperature at a faster rate on restarts and produce more grip throughout a stint.
According to IMSA, HPD found and brought the matter to the series.
“The tire pressure data manipulation was discovered by Honda Performance Development (HPD) and reported to IMSA after the official results were released,” IMSA said. “No changes will be made to the official race results. The No. 60 team and drivers retain credit for the race victory, trophy, and race-winner watches. All other teams and drivers will retain the points and prizes commensurate with their finishing positions as shown on the official race results. There also will be no change to GTP manufacturer points.”
Although the win and its spoils will not be revoked, a half-dozen penalties have been assessed to MSR, with the biggest being the forfeiture of its lead in the GTP championship standings.
“Summary – Per Attachment 3.6.6.D, intentional application of software offsets within the pressures being reported by the tire pressure monitoring system and associated Car telemetry system is prohibited and may be subject to penalty,” the series wrote.
“Penalties are as follows:
* Loss of 200 team and driver IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship points.
* Loss of all team and driver IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup points.
* Loss of race prize money.
* Team receives a $50,000 fine.
* Team and Entrant representative Mike Shank placed on probation through June 30, 2023.
* Revocation of IMSA annual credential and indefinite suspension of IMSA membership for team engineer Ryan McCarthy.”
Following the ruling Wayne Taylor Racing, second-place finishers at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, moves to the lead in the GTP standings and the other cars in the class move up one position, with MSR falling to last place.