Meyer Shank Racing has confirmed Olivier Pla as the first of its two full-time Acura DPi drivers for the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The experienced French sports car racer will drive the team’s Acura ARX-05 prototype next year for what will be his maiden full-season campaign in IMSA’s top category.
Pla currently represents Mazda Motorsports in the Michelin Endurance Cup and held a similar position at MSR in 2016 when the team was running a Ligier JS P2 Honda LMP2.
The ex-Ford FIA World Endurance Championship driver helped take MSR to the overall victory in the 2016 Motul Petit Le Mans race alongside Oswaldo Negri Jr and John Pew.
The news of Pla’s signing for 2021 comes a week after AJ Allmendinger was confirmed as part of MSR’s lineup for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona next January.
“I’m really excited to have Olivier back on board with us for the full 2021 season,” said team co-owner Michael Shank.
“He really impressed me in 2016 and performed above and beyond my expectations.
“We’ve stayed in touch and he’s continued to deliver results both in Europe and in the U.S since he raced with us in 2016.
“He’s always someone that I’ve had my eye on and I’m glad that he will be rejoining us for 2021.”
Pla has never raced the Acura ARX-05 before and has instead competed directly against the cars that have been run exclusively by Penske until the end of the current season.
Meyer Shank and Wayne Taylor Racing will keep the Oreca 07-based Acura prototype on the grid in 2021 after the impending conclusion of Penske’s three-year program deal.
“It’s a special weekend to be able to announce that I will be back racing with Meyer Shank Racing next year with the Acura ARX-05,” said 38-year-old Pla, who is contesting Saturday’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans enduro with the Multimatic-run Mazda team.
“I still remember the four races that I did with MSR back in 2016 like it was yesterday, especially our win at Petit – we had such good performance.
“Since that moment I always wished to have the opportunity to drive for Mike again and today is the day we can finally announce that. It will be a very exciting time for MSR and I’m ready for the challenge.
“Next year can’t come soon enough and I’m ready to get things started.”
Meyer Shank Racing is expected to complete the lineup for its maiden DPi season in the coming weeks.
Sportscar365 understands that reigning DPi co-champion Dane Cameron is likely to be paired with Pla for 2021, although an announcement won’t come any earlier than next month’s season-ending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.