IMSA announced Wednesday (March 8) that Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s team was found to have illegally manipulated tire pressure data during January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Specifically, they were found to have created offsets in the tire pressure data that was sent to IMSA and Michelin during the race.
IMSA stated in their release that MSR violated Attachment 3.6.6.D of the 2023 IMSA Sporting Regulations. That section reads as follows:
“Officials of IMSA and the tire manufacturer shall have free access into the Competitor’s pit and Paddock space at all times to validate the operational requirements including tire pressures and alignment settings. This includes access to tire pressure data from Car telemetry systems. Tire Manufacturers and IMSA may perform comparisons of telemetry-reported tire pressures to actual measured tire pressures. Intentional application of 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.”
Naturally, the sanctioning body came down hard on the Rolex 24-winning organization. The team has been docked 200 points for the full season championship and all 18 points earned for the Michelin Endurance Cup in Daytona. The team has also been stripped of their race winnings and fined $50,000 on top of that. Collectively, that adds up to roughly $150,000. Team owner Michael Shank has been placed on probation until the end of June.
Since the discovery of the air pressure data manipulation was discovered after the results had been declared official, the team will keep the victory, the trophy and the Rolex watches. No changes have been made to race results.
MSR earned the maximum number of points in Daytona (385) after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona from the overall pole. The penalty drops the team to the back of the GTP class standings. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz, Brendon Hartley and Ricky Taylor with 350 points are now considered to be the GTP points leaders.
The unusual portion of this action is that IMSA was able to determine who was directly responsible for the contravention of the rules. That person, engineer Ryan McCarthy, has had his IMSA hard card stripped from him and he has been indefinitely suspended from IMSA competition.
Upon receiving the news, MSR was not very happy, but accepted the penalty. As for McCarthy’s actions, not so much.
IMSA was alerted to the data issues by Honda Performance Development (HPD). They are also not happy about being placed in this position.
As David Salters, HPD’s president and technical director noted, the manipulation issues have put a real damper on the debut of the new Acura ARX-06. While they will still have the points lead exiting Daytona with WTR-Andretti Autosport, the program is now negatively associated with this scheme.
IMSA gathers data from all the teams during races in order to in part to help inform officials about how well the various manufacturers are balanced. This is not just in the new GTP class, but in the two GTD classes that use GT3 cars as well. During the race, teams give data sticks to IMSA officials so that they can analyze the information within. Not handing over the aforementioned data sticks within a specific amount of time can result in substantial penalties.
Earlier in the day, IMSA released updated Balance of Performance (BoP) figures for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring that were at least partially based on the data that they collected in Daytona. In addition, a technical bulletin was released mandating “absolute tire pressure” going forward and warning against the use of offsets.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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