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Vandoorne Replaces Castroneves in MSR Acura for Sebring

Ex-Formula 1 driver drafted into Rolex 24-winning squad as Castroneves replacement…

Photo: MSR

Stoffel Vandoorne will make his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut next month as he joins Meyer Shank Racing’s full-season drivers Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The ex-Formula 1 and current ABB FIA Formula E World Championship driver replaces Helio Castroneves, who was initially scheduled to pull double duty between Sebring and the NTT IndyCar Series event at Texas Motor Speedway until a change in the IndyCar schedule that has prevented drivers from doing both.

Vandoorne got his first laps in the team’s Rolex 24 at Daytona race-winning Acura ARX-05 during a private test at Sebring International Raceway last week.

“Stoffel impressed us at a test last week and will be a great addition to the team for Sebring,” said team co-owner Mike Shank.

“It was our initial intention to have Helio race in both the IMSA and IndyCar events that weekend, but logistically it became a bit difficult.

“Tom has said great things about Stoffel from their time racing in WEC together last year, so I think we have another strong lineup heading into the race weekend.”

Vandoorne raced alongside Blomqvist in the FIA World Endurance Championship last year in a LMP2 class JOTA Sport Oreca 07 Gibson, finishing second in the class championship with podiums in five of the six races.

“For me it will be the first time racing in Sebring, and the first time racing in IMSA competition which I am excited for because the racing in America is very close,” Vandoorne said.

“I feel lucky to also be joining the team that just won the Daytona 24 Hours, so it’s going to be a really great experience.

“I know my teammate Tom already from last year racing in WEC and Olly I know him as well from endurance racing, but it will be the first time teaming up with them together. I’m really looking forward to the weekend and hopefully we can bring home a good result for the team.”

The confirmation of MSR’s lineup follows news from both Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing on replacements for their drivers who have prioritized the clashing IndyCar event.

GTD Pro Lexus squad Vasser Sullivan is the only team with an IndyCar-bound driver, in Kyle Kirkwood, which has yet to announce a replacement.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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